Friday, August 23, 2013

As near as to another world

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.

Dragon Pipefish

 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 !

Leopard shark

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.

Pacific Sardines

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.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful and colorful video.
Like the way you have described your visit.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

That's quite a great set of photos, I wasn't aware of the diversity of those species, thanks for sharing!

Joanne Noragon said...

I believe I could spend many days looking around. I might have spent a whole day with otters and seals. And penguins.

Ms Sparrow said...

I've heard of the Monterey Bay Aquarium but doubt if I'll ever see it. Your really great pictures were a treat. Thanks for sharing!

Weekend-Windup said...

Excellent pictures and information. Thanks for sharing, enjoyed your post.

Sandhya said...

If sea horses don't have a tummy, how do the males carry the baby?! Oh, these animals too carry their eggs in their tails? I never knew about the leafy sea horses!

The birds also look lovely. Enjoyed your photos.

The video is lovely, thank you!

Jemina said...

amazed to learn so much about different species..
the pictures are just great.
..:D thanks for another virtual tour ..:D

Bethany said...

What a great and educational post and pictures! My boyfriend loves aquariums so we've been to a few but not this one. Thanks for visiting my blog and for the comment.

deeps said...

thats a different world altogether...

P. Venugopal said...

virtually took me to another wonderful world! beautiful narration, beautiful visuals!

anilkurup said...

The video is wonderful. It was just great.

Cezar and Léia said...

You got amazing images from this aquarium!Thanks for the memories, we visited there in 2007, it was a great time!
Glad that you enjoy the trip!
Great post!

Phani said...

An enchanting experience , thanks . The universe not only has lot of beauty , but is also endowed with beautiful ideas, which spur people like you to share their experiences.

Destiny's child... said...

How beautiful it all looks!
Watching the video was almost as good as being there. The Jelly Fish, such beautiful creatures. :)
I loved the way you packed information in this post in an interesting manner. The male seahorse gives birth; how amazing! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Joe. The video of the aquarium and marine life was fantastic and the music added a great effect. Thought I was watching a professional National Geographic Video!!
-Dr Nandini Ramchandran

Augustine Xavier said...

Thanks Joe for post...I am a fan of aquarium life, had fishes and like the tetras as they are most colourful. You indeed captured and presented to all of us the world of sea horses and jelly fishes - I myself saw for the very first time. Amazing music complimenting the video. Great Work...Thanks once again. Best Wishes - Auggie

TexWisGirl said...

it looks like an awesome place to spend a day, just watching with delight.

SweetMarie said...

This video is so beautiful and interesting! It really is another world.
Lovely photo of you and your wife. :)
Enjoy your week!

anuymous dev said...

Wow ,all pictures are so breathtaking.Life under water is totally a different universe.Full of spectacular colors,serene waters,unseen species,flora n fauna...

Though am surrounded by water at present (perks of being a shippis wife),have never got a chance to look under the sphere...

Dee said...

Hello! what a natural wonder you have shared with us today. Thank you for the photographs and the video. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Enchanting. Am glad I watched the video.thanks Joe. Cindy

Susan Deborah said...

The sea is a mystery and if someone shows me something from that mystery, it's a definite treat. Superb!

Joy always,

Magic in You.. said...

Simply beautiful Mr.Haddock..

Divya said...

Hey :) Some really lovely pictures you got :)And thanks for the video!

Purba said...

Been to Monterey Bay but missed the aquarium. Now thanks to your blog, I have :-)

Thank you.

A Cuban In London said...

Many thanks for such wonderful photos. Although not keen on aquaria and zoos now in my old age, I still visit them. The one in Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia, is magnificent. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Alka Gurha said...

I remember watching a Sea Horse (Hippocampus) only in my Biology Lab! Revived old memories.Vibrant Pictures.

Lady of the Manor said...

We visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium several years ago. Isn't it amazing? I really enjoyed your photos. They brought back great memories! Thanks for sharing!!

Ashwini C N said...

Lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing them. Never knew there are so many species in the sea. And beautiful ones too :-)

Jeannette said...

Wonderful great to see how one short visit to the aquarium will bring knowledge and joy to many!

Shelly said...

How beautifully amazing! It truly is another world, and the video and pics really bring that fact home. We have the Texas State Aquarium not too far from us, and I always enjoy visiting it.

Well done here!