A Day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

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Hello, everyone! Apologies for the overly long hiatus. Things have been busy in real life, which means that blogging often falls by the wayside. Rest assured, things are going well here in Japan, and I have lots of adventures to share with you–although I’m behind, as always!

I thought I’d start with sharing a wonderful day that I had at the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. I’ve loved fish and aquariums since I was a kid, so I jumped at the opportunity to take a road trip the last time I was in the San Francisco Bay area. Monterey is a couple of hours south of Berkeley. When you get past the sprawl of the South Bay, things start to look very empty, with the landscape filled mostly by farmland and large dry stretches of grass (at least in the summer). Shockingly, you can buy seven avocados for a dollar! Something that’s really not possible further north.

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Anyway, amidst all the dry land, you eventually see a beautiful little peninsula jutting out into the water. The water was so blue, it was amazing!

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The aquarium occupies land at the end of Cannery Row in Monterey, an area made famous by John Steinbeck’s novels Cannery Row (1945) and Sweet Thursday (1954).

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I was really impressed by the layout of the aquarium and the variety of exhibits. The largest one, called the Open Sea, was an enormous tank designed to simulate just that. Sea turtles, sharks, schools of other fish, all swimming together in harmony. My favorite were the Pacific bluefin tuna. Some of the largest and fastest fish in the ocean, I’d never realized how beautiful tuna are! They always look kind of ugly in photos, but I think that’s because you can’t see how round and lovely they are. I loved watching them swim.

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Another of my favorite exhibits was the Kelp Forest, a 28-foot-tall exhibit featuring majestic, swaying ropes of kelp and all of the animals that live alongside them.

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I also had some fun with the Wave Crash gallery, where 600 gallons of water come crashing down every 30 seconds, cascading over the clear walls of the tunnel to surprise the people standing underneath. I think it’s supposed to simulate the crashing tide for the animals in the Rocky Shore exhibit outside the tunnel. But it’s also very entertaining from within!

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A highlight was definitely “the Jellies Experience.” I’d never seen so many of these eerily beautiful creatures! The exhibit was a mix of normal tanks and also some psychedelic 1960s themed displays that were actually quite trippy at times. And of course, it was an excellent excuse to take pictures! Low light, constantly moving targets with endless permutations of shapes–very fun!
Here are a few of my favorite shots:

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