Saturday, 17 October 2009

Monterey, it must be Friday.




Today has been a really wonderful day.
After breakfast,  Fiona and I loaded up the car with all of the parapheralia that one needs for a three and a half year old, and set of for Pacific Grove and Grammy's house.  I was looking forward to going to the aquarium and Fiona wanted to go to the beach.
It was about an hour's drive and we arrived a bit after 10am.   The view from Grammy's front window...

Once we had settled a little bit,  we walked to the aquarium where we quickly ran around the seahorse exhibition ane then went to see the "open ocean" exhibit where the Great White shark was to be seen.  In fact,  we saw plenty of other sharks, tuna and other sea life,  but no "Great White!"
We looked through  the seahorse exhibition (these were wonderful)  but Fiona was rather restless.  Her favourite seahorse was this one...

.. a rather large model of a father seahorse with a baby coming out of his tummy.  This was popular with a number of little people.
I rather liked the delicate little ocean going specimens.  These look like the seahorses of pictures that one sees in books....

... and they were hiding under a rock.  Many were swimming in an assortment of tanks that gave incomparable views of the little fish.
But more later.... Fiona and Grammy went on to the beach while I went to see all of my favourite aquarium spots.   (I used to visit fairly often when I lived in Santa Cruz and I was a member there,  and it was wonderful to visit some of the familiar places that I see so rarely nowadays.)

Off to the huge kelp forest...  this shows a tiny part of the tank... there is much more below.


At the bottom of the kelp forest,  it is quite dark and hard to show here,  but the floor of the ocean and the fish that live there are amazing...


Back to the top of the tank,  and I spent some time watching the schooling fish there.  So much to see and so little time,   but I have always been mesmerised by these swirling masses of fish that seem to know what one another are going to do.  


The scale of this tank is a part of the fascination also... one could spend hours....


I went back to the seahorses also... and found my favourite there...  the Leafy Seadragon...

This is the "state emblem" for South Australia.  There were a number of these in the tank,  and they do everything in slow motion.  More than once,  I saw one swim towards another and "crash" into it, pushing them both to one side... all is elegant slow motion as if in a dance.

I spent time with the shore birds also, though on the way I walked under the crashing wave...  this is very clever, and I photographed the anemones in the pool as the wave broke.  (I had thought of doing this in the past,  but hadn't had the opportunity!)



The shore birds are remarkable both for their intrinsic value,  but also the opportunity to see them so closely, and yet apparently uncaged.  (Not true,  but they are all but wild.)

A silhouetted curlew...



a preening oystercatcher....




and  a young stilt...
Sitting at the table,  having soup for lunch, we could see boats out on the bay.  It was such a beautiful day.  A series of sailing boats tacked toward the "left" in the picture and ran with spinakers to the "right."

Fiona was asleep by the time we drove home.  It had been a long and exciting day. 




Tomorrow (October 17th)  is the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake.  
On October 17, 1989, at 5:04:15 p.m. (P.d.t.),  (I was just beginning to prepare dinner)
a magnitude 6.9 (moment magnitude; surface-wave magnitude, 7.1) earthquake severely shook the San Francisco and Monterey Bay regions. The epicenter was located at 37.04° N. latitude, 121.88° W. longitude near Loma Prieta peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, approximately 14 km (9 mi) northeast of Santa Cruz and 96 km (60 mi) south-southeast of San Francisco. The earthquake occurred when the crustal rocks comprising the Pacific and North American Plates abruptly slipped as much as 2 meters (7 ft) along their common boundary-the San Andreas fault system. The rupture initiated at a depth of 18 km (11 mi) and extended 35 km (22 mi) along the fault, but it did not break the surface of the Earth .
It is twenty years since that day...  and it's a funny feeling to be back here for the occasion.

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