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Monterey Day
February 25th, 2016 by suzy in Travel

Beautiful Monterey Bay

I woke up to the shouts of seagulls and a beautiful, sunny Monterey day. It was hard to believe it was February as Wednesday and I headed to the famous aquarium. I even took off my thin sweater and had the windows down. It would have been a perfect convertible day.

My friend Richard, who has friends everywhere, finagled a free pass for me to the Aquarium, a breath-taking savings of $40. The last time I was there, I went with my father, so it’s clearly been several years, and I think it was around $25, which seemed like a lot at the time. Even if I’d had to pay, it would have been worth it.

The Aquarium is located on Cannery Row, made famous by the great John Steinbeck. Little remains of Steinbeck’s gritty, hard-working area where women worked 14 hour days canning sardines caught in the bay, though the Aquarium houses some of the boilers which ran night and day to aid in the canning efforts:


And sardines swirl in silvery shoals in the kelp forest:


Fearsome lion fish, who are poisonous yet striking:


lurk among coral and brilliantly colored sea stars. Also poisonous – and striking – are the jellyfish:


They pulse gently as they waft through the water, looking so delicate and otherworldly that it’s hard to believe they are real. If I had to choose my favorite thing among all the marvels, the jellyfish would probably be it, though they get pretty stiff competition from the sea otters:


They are so utterly adorable, swimming around with their webbed paws spread wide, coming right up to the glass as if to say hello, and generally being little goofballs romping around underwater. They are like big underwater Clydes, and I love them.

It was as delightful to visit there now as it was so many years ago, and I walked into the sunny day feeling like a kid again, with a sense of wonder and joy. Now, that’s priceless.

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3 Responses

Priceless indeed, what wonderful photos, aquariums are the best place to see some rare footage of fish species that few really would otherwise get to see so close. Well worth the price of admission any day of the week, happy you got to enjoy the beauty of it all.

Priceless indeed. To walk where John Steinbeck and Ed Rickets flourished amid the travails of Cannery Row and then see the wonders of the sea at the aquarium. It warms an old Alaskan’s urge to travel. So envious.

Ed Ricketts’ lab is still there (well, rebuilt after the fire):

That and a restaurant now in the place of Cafe La Ida:

are about it from the Steinbeck days. Cannery Row is a lot like Pier 39/Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, just a bunch of overpriced tourist stuff. They even both smell like waffle cones. While being right on a bay.

Still, it was cool to walk where they walked, and the Aquarium was amazing! You must visit one day!

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