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Pictures from Monterey Bay Aquarium, part 1


I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium a few months ago. It’s one of the best aquariums in the world, in my humble opinion, and I’ve seen more than a few. The MBA’s advantage is that they are perched right on the edge of the Monterey Submarine Canyon, which extends 150 km west into the Pacific, and reaches depths of 3.6 km. This means they have relatively easy access to all the life which lives in that huge water column, and they can keep it alive in captivity by circulating the plankton-rich seawater from the bay through the aquarium and back out, allowing them to maintain an environment which is very similar to the animals’ native environment.

It’s impressive.

This MBA photo page has a number of helpful tips on it. Unfortunately they left out the most important tips: “remember to charge your @#*%ing camera BEFORE you arrive” and “do not expect to get good pictures with your cellphone.”

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  • They have a huge tank which is three or four stories tall. I could watch the fish in it for hours. They have several cylindrical tanks where the fish swirl in silvery tornados, endlessly.
  • They had taken skate eggs, which are flat black envelopes with horns on each end, and they cut out a panel on one side and replaced it with plastic. Inside, you could see the baby skate (similar to a stingray), wriggling around as it developed. I think it takes skates more than a year to hatch…I can’t remember.
  • I love cuttlefish (related to octopi). They change colors to match their surroundings. I have seen them imitate a chessboard, much more accurately than shown here. Even their skin’s texture changes to match their surroundings. Fascinating creatures. I know that you have to keep octopi tanks covered and locked, because they will escape and roam the hallways as long as they can hold their “breath”. I don’t think you have to do that with cuttlefish – they are smaller and less muscular, though still very intelligent.
  • MBA has the best displays of corals and sea anemones and other colorful things that I have never seen anywhere else in such quantity or size.
  • You may recognize the exterior of the MBA as the “Cetacean Institute” from the movie “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.” The tank and the whales in those scenes were rotoscoped into the film. In real life, that’s the ocean itself beyond the guardrails.
  1. 2012-02-15T16:36:12-05:00 16:36

    Beautiful! Definitely on my list of places to visit.


  2. 2012-02-15T01:32:11-05:00 01:32

    Does your wife know about this cuttlefish thing?


    • 2012-02-15T09:30:13-05:00 09:30

      Yes, we both like those kinds of animals, but we’d never try to keep one. Too expensive, and you can’t really interact with them much.


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