Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Soul Lies in the Sea

Ahh, Monterey!!  I'm out of Oregon yuck weather, and into sunny California! David & I drove to Monterey, where I typically go scuba diving (and where I got certified), and spent the day on the wharf and aquarium.
While walking to the Fisherman's Wharf, we were greeted by a ton of sea lions! I've never ever seen this before, just all packed on the shore! They all were lazing about, except for an enormous bull honking in the water, lookin for some lovin. SO loud. 
We picked from the zillions of clam chowder joints.. Picked wrong. Let me now recommend Crabby Jim's for anyone who heads that way. We went to Gilberts (the most well-known, and I've been there before and liked it..) because they promised a free appetizer and $3 margaritas,  but it was quite disappointing. 
Okay, so when they say "free appetizer" I guess that means we'll just throw a couple pieces of calamari on a plate. Look how chinsy that portion is!!! AND it was probably the worst calamari I've ever had. Zero seasoning. And sadly, the Clam Chowder Bread Bowl wasn't too impressive either. Mostly creamy, barely any clam, small portion, etc. Sad. But the popcorn shrimp weren't bad, and neither were the margaritas. And best of all, neither was the view.
Plus the entire pack of sea lions on the beach swam over to the pier and some of them ventured over and played directly underneath us!
We then took the trolley over to Cannery Row, and walked along the oceanside.
That look-out is always my favorite to look at and photograph.

Finally, we made it to the Aquarium! I hadn't been in several years, and it was my boyfriend's first visit! He said it was much much better than Melbourne Aquarium, the biggest he'd been to. Monterey is the best!
I love this saying. I feel this way so strongly. Scuba diving is one of my favorite things to do, it makes me feel like I'm getting a sneak peek into this special secret world, that so many people never experience the majesty of. 
Aquatic life mesmerizes me, and though scuba diving is infinitely better because I get to look as close as I want without a glass window, the aquarium is still pretty awesome because it brings that world to everyone.
Look how HUGE this guy is!!! He hid in the corner and I just stared in awe. Enormous!
My FAVORITE part of the aquarium. Jellies!!!
Whoops. Entangled!
Jellies in Space?
Moon Jellies. Absolutely beautiful!
I could watch these guys endlessly. The way they breathe and pulsate and move. Simply fascinating.
They had a "Hot Pink Flamingoes" exhibit... Some of these were Spoonbills, so cool looking! Can you spy the Scarlet Ibis?

Oh, I also spent a great deal of time with the Sea Otters. I love watching them play! We watched them from below, and from up top. But we didn't get any photos of them... Next up were the Penguins!
There were 2 Penguin areas... These guys were so cute, zippin back and forth so much!
All of the penguins started diving in the water, and then all hopped out for feeding time. It was cute!
I also discovered that penguins are curious creatures and I had SO much fun teasing them a bit with the reflection off my camera. Watch this video to see them following the light up, down, around and around! So funny and cute!
Finally, SEA HORSES! Wow. They are such interesting creatures!! They use their tails to wrap around things and just float. Lazies! :)
Check out these Pot Belly sea horses! Hanging upside down is the cool thing to do here.
The Weedy Sea Dragon. Look at that camouflage to blend in with sea weed!
The most amazing thing. The Leafy Sea Dragon... Are those plants in the water? NO!
There was a cute little girl whose mom was telling her "that's a seahorse!" and she was getting mad and adamantly saying "no it's not a seahorse!!" Then after 2 minutes, "it IS a seahorse!!!"
We took the trolley back to the wharf, and walked back to our car. But as we passed the seals, they were back but so much closer! The tide had came in and they were right up close. We climbed over the stones and these photos show just how close we were. 
The big bull was lazing about right in front, around some cute little ones. Out of nowhere he just sat up and started flapping and barking! Then he laid back down to sleep, hah.
What a lovely day. I had missed California and Monterey and the Sea. 


Grace said...

I loved all your pics, it made me really homesick . . . I used to belong to the aquarium when I lived in Aptos, it was great because you could go as often as you liked. The jellies are also my favorite!

Rose said...

omggg so many sea lions!! I think I have only ever seen one sea lion in real life.
Too bad about the meal, the chowder does look awesome how its served in the bread. Ive been wanting to make soup in a bread bowl but havent gotten around to it yet.
The effects on some of your photos looks really good! how did yo do it!?
The aquarium looks lovely. I think the jellyfish and seahorses are pretty amazing too! So relaxing to watch arent they. I dont think we will be going to the aquarium when we go to melbourne, last time it was a huge dissapointment, really small and half of it was closed for renovations.
I adore your penguin video, SO SO cute! :)


Marz said...

I LOVE this post, because I feel EXACTLY the way you do about the sea!!! I LOVE seahorses and collect them :) So I esp enjoyed the photos of these cute little creatures! :) That is sooo neat how you got to see the sea lions so close on the shore. Looks like you had such a wonderful time in Cali! :)

Laura Loo said...

Psst, I'm going to let you all in on my little secret! My digital camera broke awhile back, so ALL of these photos were taken on an iPhone!! The cool retro-y effect on some of the photos is from an app called "Hipstamatic," the best $2 investment to make!!

It emulates retro cameras, and there's 3 different lenses to choose from (one gives the yellow blurry effect, one the bluey one, and another is kinda reddish like a polaroid) and two photo edges (the scratchy and a polaroid-ish frame)

p.s. I did take photos with my Fisheye and my new Diana Mini, so I'll put those up when I get them!

juliette said...

Laura, I love this blog! Keep it up so we can all live vicariously! :) Great narration and great pics too!

Duane said...

Nice pics! We have some fav restaurants to recommend, but it looks like you have moved on to Santa Cruz anyway...

Mandy said...

Hipstamatic...you say! wow! Looks like you are having fun. Ellie is going to love looking at these fish pictures tomorrow.

Mandy said...

And the video is so funny :D

Artpixie said...

Thanks for the wonderful comments! you have a lovely blog! <3

Claire Kiefer said...

Oooooh, I live in San Francisco and I love it here! Those jellyfish really are beautiful, though after being stung by one as a little kid, they kinda freak me out now.

OneCraftyFox said...

Great pics, and I love your altered images!!

To answer your question, I just use PolaroidDroid to alter my images. It's a very user-friendly download, as you can see, I love it :)

Danielle said...

This all looks amazing!! I can't believe how many sea lions are on the shore!!