Monterey Bay Aquarium

4/1/16 (Friday) in Paicines, CA (San Benito-TT)

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We were up bright and early today so we could get to the aquarium when it opened. As it happened, John had put the wrong destination in our GPS (Monterey Bay Terrarium), so we were lost for a while and managed to arrive by 10. Lo and behold, they charge $15 for parking (all day). The entrance fee is $35/senior (65+), so it was an expensive day, but well worth it.

They have feeding times for various exhibits as well as shows with different subjects (in an auditorium). They really have plenty to do for a day. Unfortunately we forgot to put 2 and 2 together. It’s spring break, thus the place was alive with children and their high voices. They did have lots of areas devoted to children and their need for movement, sized right. One area even wouldn’t allow you in unless you were UNDER 34” tall. I didn’t get a lot of images because many of the environments were dark, with the animals moving. So you get some highlights.

We thoroughly enjoyed the sea otter feeding (watched them below water, with video images of the action above water), then scooted over to the Open Sea feeding. Watching the ball of sardines move was the highlight of my day. We dashed through some other exhibits:

African Penguins (I didn’t know they existed), from the south western coast of Africa.

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Clownfish

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Then we exited for “Cannery Row” to get lunch. Be sure to get your hand stamped before exiting if you plan to re enter. Good fish and fun atmosphere was had at Sly McFly’s.

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Back at the aquarium we got to see their new exhibits, Tentacles and Viva La Baja! Tentacles was all about cephalopods (Nautilus, Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopus). First image is a nautilus shell from the Jurassic Period, then a current live Great Nautilus. One of the few animals that have existed since before the dinosaurs. Prized for their shell, they are nearing extinction. Isn’t the squid a strange looking creature? It moves via it’s filmy side fins and by blowing air via it’s siphon (under those) stringy “legs”. The last of these is a Flamboyant Cuttlefish. You can’t tell from this photo but it changed it’s colors, so gorgeous. We loved the jellyfish exhibit too, but they were too hard to photograph.  These Garden Eels were SO cute, looking out for food I guess, planting themselves in the sand.

Our final exhibit was the aviary, so I got some cute photos here. They rescue injured birds, just like they keep only hurt or abandoned sea otters. The aquarium also presented strong messages for ways we can help all these creatures. One way is by ordering fish that have been sustainably raised (seafoodwatch.org). Another is to not use plastic, which creates havoc in the ocean and is seen as food by many of the animals there.

 

Then we sauntered awhile along Cannery Row. Lots of shops and eateries there. Some great ice cream and pastries as well. We were tempted, but soldiered on to our car, then home. We did stop at Target for groceries (great prices and just the sort of food we like to buy) in Hollister before getting home.

 

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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