We were able to switch rooms this morning so Figment could have a little more stability in the room.
Good morning Monterey! This is as good as it gets.
Breakfast was in a big common room at the hotel. It was pretty nice with a few varieties of cereal, oatmeal packets, bagels, sliced muffins, apple and orange juice, apples and bananas, and hard boiled eggs.
The room was almost full of mostly German tourists and most of them weren’t nice at all! Mom even got elbowed by one when she wasn’t moving fast enough picking up an egg
We stored our luggage before we left for the Monetery Bay Aquarium at 9:20. I realized I had forgotten my camera a few miles down the road so we circled back to collect that. Not sure that counts as a full unpack as I only had to dig through my computer bag.
We really lucked out with street parking just a block or so away from the aquarium. That might as well have been a marathon for the poor Momma though so we took our time getting there. Fortunately the aquarium has wheelchairs for guests to use on a first come/first serve basis so we were able to get one so she could fully enjoy the entire aquarium.
We got the map and were told the penguin feeding would be starting soon so we went right to that area and saw the penguins swimming and enjoying their meal at 10:30. I thought we would get back to the penguin area to get some better photos but sadly we ran out of time
Next we took in the open sea feeding at 11. So amazing to see the smaller fish school together and move away from the bigger fish as they approached. I kept thinking of Finding Nemo as I was watching their mesmerizing motions and patterns. To give perspective, if the figures I’m finding online are correct, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Open Sea tank is 28 feet tall, and contains 333,000 gallons of water. The Living Seas at EPCOT is 27 feet deep, 203 feet in diameter, and contains 5.7 million gallons of water. The size of the aquarium tank was no less impressive as it is contained all in one massive room while the Living Sea is more spread out over the whole building. But I digress. We saw a sting ray get run over by a big tuna which sent the poor little ray cartwheeling over. Saw a collision between the same two (?) again a little later and the ray held his ground much better that time around.
I wouldn’t mess with him! But I would pet him
I had a really hard time getting a good picture of the hammerhead sharks. I would wait and wait, and as soon as I would put the camera down, along they would swim.
Northern anchovy ~ it tickled me that there was one little guy doing his own thing. Bless his little heart for swimming against the stream.
We hit the cafe right at noon. We shared a grilled chicken sandwich, fries and tomato basil soup. The food was pretty tasty and not overly pricey considering they have a fairly captive clientele there with only one other option inside the aquarium. And they ask that you don’t eat outside food and drink, so I thought it was rather decent of them to provide good food at a fairly reasonable price.
This may or may not have been right before she spilled a good spoonful of the soup on her shirt. One of the cafe workers came over and offered to get us some club soda on a cloth which I thought was really nice as well.
The area outside the cafe ~ a nice courtyard where you can overlook the bay. This is looking over to the other side of the aquarium so you can get some idea of how big this place really is.
We caught a program in the Kelp Forest area at 1:30. Makana is a Laysan albatross who was injured and is now an ambassador for the aquarium. I’ve got to admit, she wasn’t what I was picturing an albatross to be at all! It was pretty neat to be able to get within about 4 feet of such an unusual bird though.
Mom was excited to see the divers in the kelp forest the one time we went past.
I didn’t record the name of these fish, but they cracked me up as they just sort of suspended themselves and stared into space.
The ray petting pool where we both got to touch the ray once. They were pretty much petted out by this time of day I think.
And they had a few other touch pools as well. We didn’t spend a lot of time here as Figment is allergic to shellfish and it was too hard for her to try to get up close enough to see the various critters they had. I did touch Mr. Starfish as it has been awhile since I have held one. He was very rough to the touch.
Around the other side of the touch pool, they had an representation of the bay area with different animals that are found there. These weren’t for petting, but they sure were pretty. And camouflaged very well!
Next we went and watched a presentation called Journey to Baja which was interesting. The roughly 15 minute presentation was given by a researcher who worked on the Baja peninsula studying the migration patterns and habits of brown pelicans, elephant seals, and whales from Alaska to the remote and rugged region.
We were able to see the otter feeding at 3:30. That was a super small upstairs area which became packed rather quickly. I really have a hard time holding any kind of space when it comes to international tourists who have no sense of personal space. Luckily there was a British couple who allowed Mom to roll right up to the glass so she had a really good view. And I sort of stood awkwardly in the 8” of space the other people allowed me as they crowded right in between the handles of the wheelchair with me
We found out that otters keep their paws up on their bellies to help keep them warm as they have poor circulation in their paws and the water is very cold. The more you know...
Next we went off in search of the octopus. Octopuses? I think we only found one so I guess octopus!
Then we were in the jellyfish zone. This area was so interesting that I would love to live closer and just be able to sit and enjoy the jellyfish swimming about. They have very calm oceany music and it was just so peaceful...other than the other tourists. But there weren’t a ton of other people there as it was getting close to closing time.
The aptly named Egg-yolk jelly ~ they looked like a tangled sticky mess
Lobed comb jelly ~ these jellies were awesome with what looked like little flickering multicolored lights running up and down their sides!
Cross jelly ~ these were fairly tiny, only a few inches across, and interesting in that they are almost completely transparent. You could push a button that turned off the display lights so you could see how easily they blended in to the water.
Now you see it
Now you don’t ~ well, almost
I think these are more moon jellies
And these are...more jellyfish. I think they're moon jellies. Some of the pictures got a little jumbled up between my phone and camera
In trying to see the special Tentacles exhibit I made two full circles across the upstairs bridge, up and down two elevators. When we saw the same volunteer the second time around I stopped and asked for better directions than we had received from the first volunteer!
We made it ~ ta-da!!!
These little squid were so colorful and cute!
Garden eel ~ these were just cool!
Striped pyjama squid
Striped pyjama squid hatchlings ~ hatched 6/1/16, lifespan 9 months, found in temperate waters of Australia
Giant pacific octopus eggs ~ laid 7/4/16 ~ 5-7 month incubation, found in Japan to Alaska to Baja California
Two-spot Octopus hatchlings ~ hatched 1/18/16 ~ lifespan 2 years ~ central California to Baja
With our slight detour finding the Tentacles exhibit, as well as taking in all the shows we had, we had just a few minutes to see the Viva Baja exhibit.
Not a real tarantula, but Figment still remembers fondly being able to pet the rose footed tarantula at the Conservation Station in Animal Kingdom. Pretty sure she would not be so fond of one if she found it loose in the house though
There is no grace period at the aquarium like there is at Disney. They made announcements 15 minutes before closing, 10 minutes and 5 minutes. And then they closed promptly at 5. Of course we both wanted to stop at the restroom which was right by the last place we were so in we went. When I came out there was Robert from security waiting for me. I told him Mom was still in the restroom but would be out shortly. He was quite pleasant and other than having to answer on his radio several times that he was with guests, he seemed happy to chat and try to come up with good dinner recommendations. He escorted us out a side door, saving us a lot of extra mileage, and stayed with Mom while I went and retrieved the car. He even helped her to the car and then took the wheelchair back inside. Can’t say enough about how nice he was.
Mom was hungry for BBQ, and since Robert hadn’t thought of any places, we inquired at the hotel. They recommended a place a little further away from the tourist area but on the drive there Mom said she was tired and would be happy with Arby’s. No joy with that on Google Maps but we passed a Subway so that became the new plan. We actually even lucked out and the sandwich we both enjoy there (read, I will actually eat that sandwich and pretty much only that sandwich if pressed to eat at Subway
), the Italian BMT (Genoa salami, spicy pepperoni, and Black Forest Ham for those who aren’t familiar) was the sub of the day so we each had a half sandwich for the low, low price of $6...plus tax
The people there were really nice about putting what we each wanted on our half, and even wrapped the two halves separately so we each had our own “plate”. I wandered around outside a bit while Figment finished eating and lamented we weren’t closer to the ocean for the sunset.
We got back to the hotel at 7:30, where Figment realized she had forgotten to pack enough insulin needles for the trip. After a quick call to CVS, who told her that insurance wouldn’t cover it because she wasn’t due for a refill, and telling them that we would have to pay out of pocket as it really wasn’t an option to go without, I was off to the area we had just left to pick up the prescription. Again, it was lucky that the prescription was much less expensive than they had told me over the phone and they said that her local CVS was billing incorrectly. Wonderful. Anyhow...
The room only had a queen size bed but they had provided a rollaway and waived the extra charge as they had not gotten the reservation correct in the first place, so I was taken back to my childhood. Being the youngest and third child, I always got the rollaway bed the rare times we went to a hotel. Actually I would have really loved the rollaway when I was little as it was super springy. As an adult, yes, sometimes I adult, it was tolerable, and better than sharing a bed with someone who has a lot of aches and pains and isn’t still for more than a few minutes at a time due to those aches and pains.
Sometime through the night, I got up and turned on heat because it became downright chilly in there.
And so ends day 3. Up tomorrow, the 17 mile scenic drive.
Pack/unpack ~ one more time.