So… San Francisco.
The main objective of Friday was to go to Monterey: a smaller place about a hundred miles south of San Francisco, across the Monterey Bay from Santa Cruz.
The blue line on the map doesn’t accurately reflect the route we actually took, but I was really just trying to show, like, where it was. We actually started from our hotel in Benicia. After we passed San Jose, we went through some forested hills before coming out near Half Moon Bay, the small bay visible northwest of Monterey Bay, We drove near the coastline and around Monterey Bay; and through some agricultural and industrial areas. It was a nice drive, I can’t remember the exact roads we took though. I think at some point we switched to the Pacific Coast Highway. Everybody loves the PCH.
We got to Monterey and ate lunch at Carl’s Jr., where I indulged with a good bacon burger, fries and at least a quart of cherry coke. We went to the Monterey Aquarium, which I guess is supposed to be one of the best aquariums but I didn’t know anything about it. But we went there. And it was cool. They had, like, fish, and stuff.
They had darkened rooms with windows into tanks full of clear water, with deep blue backgrounds, containing fairly large jellyfish. The tanks had lighting on the bottom under the window to make it look like the blue backgrounds and the jellyfish were glowing. They had big tanks that synthesized a coral reef, with the same rocks and plants and stuff and several exotic fish, as well as small sharks and stingrays. We heard that the workers have to wear chain mail when they dive into the shark tank.
Another tank was two stories tall, and could be viewed from the seafloor exhibit on the first floor or a mezzanine upstairs, and contained a kelp forest environment and schools of small fish. There was a spacious room with a window to a very large tank full of larger fish like great white and hammerhead sharks, as well as tunas and other things. The window was large and rectangular; and on the back of the room there was a balcony with benches set up like a sort of amphitheater, so it seemed like some sort of movie theater.
The entrance room to the open-ocean fish exhibit was circular, with a dome ceiling; and as the walls curved into the ceiling there’s this donut-shaped tank with a huge school of small chrome-colored fish uniformly swimming around it. The whole thing was crowded with things, and they were all around and above you. You could go outside on the balcony and observe seals on the rocks in the shallow bay with telescopes they had set up.
So it was definitely impressive.
Yes, that picture there is of a very large octopus. Apparently, my Dad says that all animals were divinely created, except for the octopus, which was created by the devil. I don’t know much about that particular religion, but I bet the giant squid and those jellyfish (they were pretty cool to look at though) might also fit into that category. And maybe that shark from Jaws. Or all of those weird sharks in that movie theater room tank. But then when you start overthinking it like that it stops being funny.
My mom actually took all of these. (I was generally on my own at this place, because at the beginning, I had forgotten my glasses and I walked back down to the parking garage to get them, which I was cool with because I had to work off that cherry coke. I just chilled in the aquarium on my own for a couple of hours after that.) But seriously, if you just go to Google images and type in “Monterey Bay Aquarium,” pretty much all of the pictures that come up show what I’m trying to explain. Just imagine you’re in a dark room with bassey, ambient music playing.
After we were satisfied with our exploration of the aquarium, we walked down the street to the PinkBerry. (There actually is a picture of me there, but I wasn’t ready so I’m just making this derp face and I really don’t think that’s worth sharing with people on the internet…) Anyway, we went there. And then we went south of Monterey a few miles to a place called Point Lobos, a rocky section of shore by the forest near Carmel. We just kind of hung out there and looked around for a while. I have pictures.
I just happen to be wearing the same red t-shirt right now, which I got in San Francisco the previous day. I don’t know why I or anyone else would care, but I just noticed that.
Point Lobos was beautiful. Something about it wasn’t exactly the same as the coastal area we went to on that first day though, but it was still memorable. I remember more trying to find some crabs in the tide pools and the only ones I could find that were not dead ran away when I got close. And there were these deep pools between the rocks that would fill up with every wave, and then water would run off the rocks, and then I had to time it right so I could jump somewhere… dang, looking at that last picture and thinking back… I have no idea how I actually got on that rock.