Friday, August 31, 2012

Monterey Bay - 28 August 2012

The focus for today was the Monterey Bay Aquarium; we realised we would need a reasonable time to see this world class facility but woefully underestimated what a fantastic place it is.  The entrance fee $US39.50 is a bit of a clue, but having seen it we did not feel that we had been overcharged.

We could easily have spent more than the four hours we did as so many of the displays are quite mesmerising and there is so much detail to see in every tank and display that it was not possible to take it all in.

When an aquarium can sport 3-story high kelp forest tank and an "open sea" tank with an absolutely huge unbroken glass viewing window, you know you are in for a treat.  It is fantastically well geared for families with displays where you can touch sea-life that you could find in rock pools.

One current feature was the jellyfish display with some they claimed were a world-first time that they has ever been displayed.  Watching tanks and tanks of all sizes of jellyfish was simply addictive.

The other current feature was seahorses and the range of shapes and sizes were amazing.  We were especially captivated by the Leafy Seadragons that looked just like bits of seaweed floating about.

But, we could not stay all day so we rode the free trolley to historic downtown Monterey and wandered from the historic centre down and around Fisherman's Wharf then caught the trolley back to the expensive parking lot.

Just over the peninsula is the Pebble Beach area, home of numerous golf courses, in cluing the famous Pebble Beach course, home of the US Open a number of times.  To see this area you pay $US9.75 to drive along the "17 Mile Drive". originally set out in 1888 for the horse-drawn fraternity,
this now draws a steady stream of the motorised fraternity who pay their toll to gawk at the expensive real-estate, look at the views and take a stroll through "The Lodge" to see the 18th Green  of the Peeble Beach Golf Course;  we did all three.

While in the area we went down to Carmel Beach and had a picnic tea on the sand and drove back through the obviously very chic and expensive shopping centre full of galleries and expensive clothes shops.

From here we had to back-track a bit to get on Hwy 101 to head south to Santa Margarita, our destination for the night.  We should have taken the coastal road as we intended to visit Hearst Castle en-route but unfortunately we spent too much time in the Monterey area and there was no time for another activity in the day.

The drive down Hwy 101 was interesting in that the road was in the centre of a broad totally flat valley that was acres and acres of market gardens. A little further south when the terrain was not quite so flat, the vineyards took over until we dropped into another flat valley where it was market gardens again.  The fleets of ex-school buses that must be used to ferry workers to the fields showed what a labour intensive undertaking it is providing fresh vegetables on this scale.

191 miles today, total trip 7292. States: California

1 comment:

Gregg Camp said...

The views are breathtaking! The fee is just totally worth it. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.