We recently strapped up and cruised down the almost criminally scenic Pacific Coast to knock off a crucial item on our bucket-list, the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Home to over 35,000 creatures representing close to 600 species, the aquarium draws around 2,000,000 visitors yearly from around the globe.
Equipped with the essentials, a map and a G Slim, we primed ourselves for a head-first dive into the wonders of the deep blue.
The Kelp Forest, an icon of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is a 28-foot deep living underwater jungle. If properly timed, you can catch a glimpse of aquarium staff in full scuba gear feeding the residents of this fascinating underworld.
Everyone's favorite, the aquarium's Sea Otter Program, provides a full range of relief from injured otters to stranded otter pups. Here's "Kit", a surrogate mother, cleaning her face before a feeding session.
The stunning, vibrantly colored Urticina Piscivora, also known as the "fish-eating anemone", gets its name by feasting on small fish and shrimp in order to survive.
The Jellyfish exhibit was a definite highlight of our adventure. The seemingly endless sea of Moon Jellyfish could capture your attention for hours on end.
Lookdowns use their reflective scales to confuse any predators looking for a snack. Witnessing a school hypnotically sway in mesmerizing circles was quite the trip.
The Coral Reef exhibit was not of this world. Objects, textures and colors foreign to our daily field of vision placed us in what felt like the outer realms of existence where extra time was necessary to distinguish living beings from alien landscape.
The plastic pollution cycle is one of the biggest current threats to our ocean's future and well-being. Not only does the MBA host summits and campaigns to raise awareness, but their Ocean Traveler's Plastics gallery features sculptures and art installations fashioned from everyday plastic items.
Inspired by Hokusai's woodcut classic The Great Wave Off Kanagawa crossed with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Chris Jordan's collage Gyre is composed of 2.4 million pieces of plastic, which unfortunately also happens to be the number of pounds of plastic estimated to enter the world's oceans EVERY HOUR.
The Open Sea Tank is the aquarium's largest exhibit, housing over 3,000 glittering Sardines, Scalloped Hammer-Head Sharks & Green Sea Turtles gracefully gliding amidst 1.2 million gallons of water.
If you ever find yourself lucky enough to visit Monterey, CA, be sure to make time for a visit to the aquarium. On a quick side-note, new G headwear is available now, so keep up this new year at your freshest capacity with a new hat!