The cold waters of the Pacific around San Francisco – more specifically the Farallon Islands – are among the best habitats in the world for great white sharks. Unfortunately this isn’t a post about sharks, though I did search for shark diving outfitters this weekend and henceforth will be actively scheming up ways to make that happen. After spending a morning filling my head with visions of 18 ft. monster great whites chasing cute little seals through the kelp forests for breakfast, I decided to head to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a dose of undersea awesome. Apparently every family living between Vancouver and Tijuana felt the same urge; the triple threat of shooting handheld in super low light, three to thirteen-inch plexiglass between camera and sea creature, and hundreds (if not millions) of screaming, whooping children (myself included) made for challenging photo conditions. Midway through the afternoon I had to retreat to the solace of the cafe for a cheeseburger and a calming beer, then back into the teeming fray for more. Some images:
Aquariums have always captivated my imagination, and Monterey Bay is no exception. It’s as close to being a part of the ocean as an aquarium can get – Wikipedia says they pump “2000 gallons per minute of Monterey Bay ocean water, night and day, through the 100+ exhibit tanks. During the day the water is filtered for viewing clarity. During the night, raw (unfiltered) seawater is pumped through exhibits, bringing in food in the form of plankton. Waste ocean water from the aquarium is returned to the Bay. This design makes the aquarium ecologically essentially part of the ocean in the Bay, and allows the culture of organisms such as Giant Kelp which are not suitable for ordinary saltwater aquariums.” Monterey Bay is also the first aquarium in the world to successfully keep great whites; the Outer Bay exhibit regularly hosts young white sharks, and though Outer Bay was closed this time, I WILL be back next time a baby Jaws comes to stay.
edit: now featuring jellyfish video: