Monday, May 5, 2008

Road trip to Monterey! Part 2

Hello everyone. So let's continue my road trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Shortly leaving the fruit stand, we arrived in the city of Monterey. As we were coming to a stop sign, something was wrong. I had my wife look out the window and dang it, the right front tire was flat. I pulled into the nearest parking lot and proceeded to change flat.

I haven't changed a flat tire since high school! But being the clever guy that I am, I figured it out pretty quickly. Actually, it is very easy but the lugs were super tight. I wasted half of my energy just getting them off!

I was glad to find a full size spare.

Alright, it looked good and we would soon be at the aquarium checking out the fish. Or at least I thought!

I lowered the jack and crap! The spare had never been used and got deflated. I didn't notice it had no air when I was putting it on. So now I had no choice but to take the original tire to a service station and try to get it fixed. The problem was that the nearest service station was two miles away. Can you imagine you seeing this silly guy rolling a tire down the street! Just when things were not looking good, a taxi drove up to drop off a lady at the health clinic that was near by. Oh yah!, a stroke of good luck.

So we hopped in with the original flat tire and the driver took us to a service station to get the tire fixed. Then more bad news came. The puncture was on the side of the tire and couldn't be plugged. I had to get a new one. So we hopped in again and drove to a tire shop to buy a new tire. Of course it takes time to do all this and by the time we got back to my car with the brand new tire, an hour and half had gone by. And you know the meter on the taxi was still running! So the whole silly incident, including the new tire, cost me over $150.00! But I looked at the bright side of things. I just felt lucky that the tire went flat in town, and not on the freeway in the middle of nowhere. A lesson was learned that day. Make sure your spare has air in it!

A few miles down the road, we arrived at the "cannery row". Basically it is a street that has a bunch of shops and restaurants where once fish were processed and canned. Those days are all gone but there is an "allure" that attracts tons of visitors and tourists. Towards the end of the road is the aquarium.

One of the side streets that has been developed very well. Again it is lined with shops and restaurants.

The rock dude on the right is the famous American author, John Steinbeck. His books include such famous writings such as "Grapes of Wrath", Of Mice and Men", and Cannery Row". All in all, he wrote 25 books and is a big part of Monterey Bay cannery row heritage. Steinbeck wrote "Cannery Row" in 1945 and it depicts life in the sardine canning town in the "great depression". Tribute to Steinbeck is evident everywhere in this area. For more info on John Steinbeck, you can check out this link

One of many nice seafood restaurants on the "cannery row". I love the architecture of the building!

And here is my beautiful wife, standing next to a flower garden. In the background is the Monterey Bay.

Another reference to John Steinbeck and his influence. Didn't get a chance to go in but for sure next time.

So after looking around, we decide to stop at this restaurant to eat lunch before heading into the aquarium. The dining area was very nice and parts of it overlooked the calm Monterey Bay.

Check out this huge replica of a lionfish. It was hanging over samples of prepared dishes in the restaurant. I think it would look nice to have one hanging at home.

The detail was so good. It really looked real!

And here is our food. Fish and chips for me and sauteed prawns with a funky biscuit for my wife. We also ordered some Alaskan king crab legs. My wife wanted to try as she loves watching the "deadliest catch" on Discovery channel. She wanted to see if it was worth risking one's life for this crab. She thought it wasn't worth it.

And after lunch, we walked to the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Here is the admission fees. Quite expensive and much higher than the last time I was there.

So the Packard Foundation was responsible putting together this state of the art aquarium. Husband and wife David and Lucile Packard loves the ocean and donates a great deal of money in research and preservation. David Packard is of course co-founder of the electronic giant Hullet Packard. For more info on their non profit foundation, check out this link

I love to see old signs and pictures of the past of the Cannery Row. The actual boiler that was used to cook the sardines is behind this sign. The aquarium was built inside one of these canneries, but lots of things from the past was preserved.

A view of the boiler from the second story.

Here is my wife standing next to a circular aquarium with thousands of anchovies swimming in circles.

A closer look reveals that the "chovies" are swimming with their mouths open. Perhaps trying to feed on the plankton.

Monterey Bay Aquarium is mostly dedicated to marine life of the Monterey Bay. But they do have a small tropical reef section. This display was showing off weedy (fancy fins) and leafy sea dragons.

And here is one of two reef tanks on display. Not so spectacular, but got plenty of attention. The colorful fish was a change in scenery from the regular dull fish colors of the Monterey Bay.

The guy's name who is in charge of these reef displays at the aquarium is David Cripe. He is an expert reef guy and did a lot of work for my friend when setting up her huge tank. More on this on the next post. I had a chance to meet David back in 2002 at a local reef club meeting. He was there to demonstrate propagation techniques. I was a sponsor for the club and would donate gift certificates for their raffles. The club's name is Seabay and you can check out this link to that day

Nice green bubble with some of its streamer tentacles out. Usually all the lps corals extend out their tentacles to capture food at night.

A large colony of seriotopora. A bit brown but still nice!

A beautiful swirling Montipora capricornis! Reminds me of my beautiful piece back in the days that my Onyx pair of perculas used to host in.

A nice green stylophora! These and the pocilloporas don't get any respect in the sps world. The exceptions are the Europeans, they love these corals!

A cool piece of a tabling acropora. Check out the intense encrustation on the base!

A huge colony of an acropora staghorn. These type of acros can grow extremely fast and take over your tank!

A stunning little colony of tricolor acropora. There are several species, but this one looks to be acropora valida.

A group of soft corals to complement the hard stuff. This made it more of a complete looking reef.

On one of the smaller displays was this Hawaiian dragon morray eel. I remember I had a very rare pair back in the Tropical Paradise days. The male and female were caught together and sent to me. It was amazing!

And here is the other larger display tank. I would consider this to be a clam tank, as it was dominated by tridacnids.

A nice specimen of the biggest clam, the gigas. These can grow over a meter long and weigh hundreds of pounds. We actually were farming this clam back in Tonga when I was invloved. The broodstock originally came from Australia, as gigas clams were not endemic to the area.

A cinnamon clown using the gigas to host in. He better be careful, as I've seen fish get clamped down and killed by the clam.

This smaller tridacnid is a crocea. This one is considered first grade. There are super nice ultra grade ones from Vietnam and South Pacific.

A cool looking derasa clam. These guys can get huge. I remember seeing specimens over two feet on a ferry coming back from one of the smaller islands in Tonga. We were on a ferry from Hapaii to the main island and they had these huge derasas and squamosas in these concrete tubs. They were on the way to the king's palace to be eaten by the king. By law, only he is allowed to eat the clams. But of course, anyone who finds one will take it home or sell it. I used to see many at the wharfs being sold as food.

But I think this clam was the most beautiful of them all, it has my wife inside:)

Tucked inside a crevis, was this Cynarina desheysiana. This solitary coral is commonly mistaken as a scolymia.

A view of the aquarium from the top level.

Another view from the same spot overlooking the bay.

And of course, this is one of the biggest attractions there is. The jellyfish floating around against the blue background is totally amazing!

Totally stunning and beautiful!

Some strange looking jellys. They look fragile and weak, but they are deadly predators!

A part of the success of keeping the jellyfish, is because the water is pumped directly from the ocean to the display tanks. So constant fresh seawater is circulated through.

This is kind of interesting. This is a glass ball that is used to float fishing nets out in the sea. Eventually barnacles grab hold and can cover this little floating ball, creating a little refuge for many small animals.

Guess what this is? If you guessed squid eggs, you got it right!

And finally, the huge outer ocean display. This huge display once housed a great white shark. Too bad I wasn't around to see it. Notice the huge dolphin fish (dorado) (mahi mahi) at the top.

This display is really cool. There is a seating area where you can just relax and enjoy the view, with music too!

Ok, this ends our journey to the aquarium. My next post will be on the huge reef aquarium of my friend in Pacific Grove.



Jeffry R. Johnston said...

I love how when you recount your adventures you include all of the details. The flat tire with the flat spare had me laughing (sorry!), because I had thought those types of things only happen to me. Great pictures of the aquarium; I will definitely have to check it out myself now.

Eddie H. said...

Hi Jeffry,

Well I'm glad someone else had the same problem! Flat tires are pain in the butt. I usually have AAA road service but I canceled it since I've been gone. Thanks for keeping up with my blog.


Aquaculture Northern Bali

November Corals Collection Part. 1

November Corals Collection Part. 2

Aquaculture - November Shipment

Coral Showcase - September 2008 Inventory

Holding Facility's Corals Collection Showcase 2007