Ever since I moved to California, the area around Monterey and Carmel has held a special place in my heart. The Carmel Mission (dedicated to San Carlos Borromeo) is very nice, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a jewel, the coast is beautiful. And then, there is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of our favorite destinations any time of the year.
The last time we were there, we saw two special exhibits, Wild About Otters and The Secret Lives of Seahorses, and we also visited the permanent exhibits. This was the first time I used my new camera, so the photographs are not special. The Aquarium, on the other hand, is a very special place and we are always excited when we visit it. If we drive there for the day, we park in Pacific Grove, drink a cappuccino there, and then walk on the trail along the coast that leads you to the Aquarium. Once inside, we lose track of time, especially when we look at our favorite creatures: jelly fish (meduse).
Seahorse in Italian is cavalluccio marino or ippocampo. A few interesting notes from the Aquarium web site:
Seahorses, sea dragons, pipehorses and pipefishes come in many shapes and sizes, but beneath the surface they’re all fish, with fused jaws and bony plates in place of the scales normally associated with fish.
Perhaps what most distinguishes seahorses from the rest of the animal kingdom is their unique life history—the males become pregnant and give birth. Seahorse fathers shelter their young in protective pouches, while sea dragon and pipefish fathers carry their young on spongy patches on the undersides of their tails.
Weedy sea dragon
Leafy sea dragon (in my opinion, the most amazing member of the family)
The Aquarium has some leafy sea dragons in their permanent exhibit, so this was not our first encounter with these amazing creatures. In the photo, two of them swim together. They are very elegant.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the l'acquario di Monterey audio file [mp3].