One and half hour drive from San Jose takes you to Monterey Bay Aquarium.
I wish I could have spent the whole day at the Aquarium. I have missed out on some of the exhibits and in some cases, just had a glimpse.
What a place and what a treat for the eyes. Never ever thought that such marine life existed on planet earth. The two things that really captures you are the variety of Sea Horses and Jelly Fish.
I have to confess that I could not capture all of them with my camera as I was just staring at these wonders of nature.
Sea Horse is the only family in the animal kingdom in which the males get pregnant!
Sea Horses don’t have stomach. Food passes through them quickly. So they have to eat and eat and eat.
Leafy sea dragon: This one may look like a twig with some leaves but it’s a relative of the sea horse.
These rare and beautiful members of the seahorse family are found in the waters of southern and western Australia. Like the seahorse, the male sea dragon carries the eggs (on a brood patch located on the tail instead of a stomach pouch) These “leafies” can grow up to 13 inch long.
Leafy Sea Dragon
Weedy Sea Dragon: They are slightly darker when compared to the “leafies” and has lesser leaf like appendages. Both Weedy and Leafy are threatened by habitat destruction, and potentially by people buying them for their home aquariums.
Weedy Sea Dragon
Potbelly Seahorse: In this case the bigger the pot belly the better to attract the females, so courting males pump their pouches full of water.
These Dragon Pipefish resemble skinny seahorse stretched out straight.
The Leopard shark being docile towards people, swam close, allowing them to caress its back. They lack the swim bladders that other fish use to fine tune their buoyancy. So they are always about a foot above sea floor. If they don’t swim they sink !
The bat ray swims gracefully by flapping their batlike wings (which are nothing but their pectoral fins) They have strong teeth that can crush the strongest clam shells.
The exhibition of the seahorses closed on Sept 2nd so we were lucky to get to see them just a week before its closure.
The Pacific Sardines are slightly different from the ones seen in the Indian Ocean. It is nice to see the school of sardines swim against the light from the top.
The upside down Jellies. They are 95% water, and don’t have bones, brains, blood, teeth or fins.
Upside down Jellies
The variety of the Jelly fish was mind boggling. Flower Hat Jellies, Cross Jellies, Elegant Jellies, Spotted Jellies, Blubber Jelly, Moon Jelly . . . . . the list is endless.
It was a sight to see the fish being fed in the large glass enclosure. The ferocious looking fish were so docile and friendly with the feeder inside.
The otters enclosure was packed with visitors who were waiting to see them being fed. Sea Otters have the world’s densest fur – up to a million hair per square inch. (human head has about 100,000 hair on the whole head)
Birds that are abandoned or injured are also brought here and taken care of.
The Long-billed curlew has a long curved beak (which cannot be seen here).
They are the largest shorebirds in Northern America.
Like Anne Stevenson said "This is as close as we can get to another world"
Managed to capture their movements, added some appropriate music and prepared a 11 minute video.
This once again confirms the fact that a good picture (or a video) depends not on the camera or the photographer, but on that magician namely “the light”
The lighting in each of the enclosures was so good that it was a photographer’s delight.
Had to discard a lot of footage to keep the video short.
By the way this video will fall flat if watched with the volume low or on mute. So turn up that volume and enjoy.