Monterey Bay Aquarium & An Elephant Seal Rookery

As I mentioned in a post last week I was on vacation – taking in the beauty of California’s Central Coast.  I stayed in Cambria for a week, and was lucky enough to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium during my stay.  What an incredible facility!  The exhibits were amazing, and the volunteers and staff were both friendly and helpful.  If you’re going to be in the area, and have a chance to take it in, I’d definitely recommend it.

The Kelp Forest was magical. Seaweed stretched from the “sea floor” to the surface of the water, and the exhibit was teeming with sea life.  From starfish and sea cucumbers to leopard sharks – and oodles of fishies in between – there was so much to see.  It was so lovely I could’ve stayed at this exhibit for hours, but finally had to move on.




I think of anchovies as being itty-bitty things, but these silvery beauties were around 4 inches long.  They swam round and round, and opened their mouths wide from time to time – which was both funny and kinda scary looking all at the same time!



The jellyfish exhibit was another of my favorites – I could’ve lingered there for hours. SO lovely!



I enjoyed the other exhibits, too, which allowed me to see things like anemones, sea horses, and other sea life and plants up close.




In addition to the aquarium, I was also lucky enough to visit the Elephant Seal Rookery near San Simeon, CA.  Though most of the thousands of seals that birth and mate yearly on this beach had already headed back out to sea for their annual trip north to the Aleutian Islands, I was able to see many of the weaned “babies” (they weren’t so little!) and a dozen or so of the large male seals.  It was such a treat to see these creatures sunning themselves on the beach!




In addition to drinking in the sun, the seals also made frequent “raspberry” sounds and occasional barking/crying sounds.  Another of their favorite past times is using their flippers, which have “fingernails” on them, to scratch and to flip damp sand up onto their bodies.  The sand helps keep them cooler in the baking sun…




One more photo: this was taken on the bluffs in Cambria, not far from Lodge Hill.


I went for a walk with my Cambria hosts, and we saw so many wonderful things!  In addition to the gorgeous ocean view overall, we saw seals, pelicans, dolphins and sea otters!  I was super excited, and actually jumped up and down while watching the dolphins.  Seeing and hearing the otters crack-crack-cracking their food open on their chests made me giddy, too.  Yep, I’m definitely a nature lover!

We also went whale watching, and saw at least four whales, but the sea was rolling our boat around so much that I was more focused on not falling over the rail than taking great photos!  Please feel free to comment and share some of your aquarium or sea life viewing adventures, dear readers…

Warm regards,

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  1. Posted March 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm by Pam | Permalink

    Incredible aquatic photos!

  2. Posted March 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thanks! I had a great time checking out the fishies and taking photos. 🙂 Thank you for commenting…

  3. Posted April 11, 2012 at 8:24 am by Lynn Cohen | Permalink

    Yes, the Monterey Aquarium is one of the finest! I love the jelly fish best and the sardines in the round. Haven’t been in a while as it’s about three hours from where I live. glad you got to see it on your vacation. Your photos are terrific…of “our seals” too!

  4. Posted April 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm by Melody | Permalink

    I love watching fishies and other critters, so my time at the aquarium (and the rookery) was wonderful. Thank you for commenting, and for complimenting my photos!