Friday, September 10, 2010

It Happened in Old Monterey

DSCN0315Sea Dragons.  Moon Jellies.  Kelp Forest.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium reminded us of how much we love ocean life—the fresh smell of the sea, the slow dreamlike motion of the fish, transparent and vibrant colors impossible to recreate.  We have been to many wonderful aquariums through the years (Sydney, Australia; Vancouver, Canada; Newport, Oregon are most memorable) and each one has something unique, but Monterey Bay Aquarium is special because:

  • Jellyfish in many different sizes and colors.  The displays were designed with special lighting and a solid blue background--all you see are graceful, glowing Jellies with New Age music playing gently in the background in time with their pulsating motion.  We were so mesmerized by the Jellyfish that we bought a DVD that creates a Jellyfish aquarium on your television with the same hypnotic music.
  • Weedy_Sea_Dragon_1 There is a variation of the seahorse family called sea dragons.  Amazing.  They look like miniature dragons in camouflage.  Some can blend into the soft  green foliage and others into brilliant yellow coral.  We never knew they existed.
  • The kelp forest tank is two stories high and the tall swirling plants sway back and forth along with the simulated waves.  Numerous fish species including leopard sharks swim between the kelp.  Forget the sharks; it is the Sheephead fish everyone avoids; he has two canine teeth.  Yikes!
  • You can find a round aquarium on the ceiling of a separate round room with smelt schooling and swimming above, around and around like a child’s spinning top.   They were almost a blur of silver motion.
After spending four hours in the Aquarium, we stepped out on to Cannery Row. 

IMG_0724 John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row” was required reading when I was in high school (or maybe it was middle school); and although, I do not remember much of the book storyline, I remember a few of the characters and the description of Cannery Row—“Doc”, Mack and the gang, the Chinese grocer.  I am told that a number of the buildings standing today are the same  as the ones depicted in the book, but they certainly are a cleaned up version.   The Steinbeck description gave you almost a shantytown impression.

We ate at Sly McFly’s for fish and chips—kind of a dive, but great for people watching and a little local color.  Also ordered up a cold beer--Cheers, Mr. Steinbeck--we sho’ do like your town.

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