While on our holidays this winter in California, one of our weeks were spent in the Monterey / Carmel area, a favourite spot of ours to unwind. A must see each time we have been there is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we are always so fascinated by the sea life that lives there. National Geographic and Oasis channels in HD are incredible but seeing these magnificent specimens in real time – well, there is just no comparison. The colours, the textures, the movements, the ability to adapt to their surroundings, and to hide from their predators by their disguises ~ all, awe inspiring!

One that caught our imagination this time was the Leafy Sea Dragon ~

It was part of the Sea Horse exhibit ~ haven’t seahorses captivated you since childhood!? Their long, leaf like protrusions are used purely for camouflage not for propulsion, they have fins that are all but invisible that propel them gently through the water, leaving the leafy limbs to give the illusion of them being seaweed. Wow!

More beauty was to be found in the tanks with the sea anemones ~

with their intense colours and swaying tentacles ~ the sight was mesmerizing.

We had arrived at the Aquarium right in time for one of the main feedings of the day in one of the largest tanks – they feed only one species at a time so they have diversionary tactics to keep the other varieties of fish away. This time it was the sardines turn and what a show they delivered! Pure magic!

If only the video I thought I was shooting had of worked, you would have seen movement as though they were performing ballet, all shimmering in the light.

Humour can be found almost anywhere, and at the Aquarium it was no different. This next little guy was doing his best (it seemed) to catch anyone’s attention ~ saying…????

He was pressed right up to the face of the tank, as though he wanted OUT! Can you believe how cute and bird like he looks?   Speaking of birds, they are well represented ~ contained in an area that actually felt as though we were outside. One sweet little bird was looking pretty content on his sandy beach,

Besides all of the splendour inside the tanks and the other exhibits, the architecture is pretty  great as well ~ crazy we didn’t take shots of the building, except for this one…. I love the way they created a textured framework on the plain concrete wall.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium leaves you in awe at the wonders we have in our oceans and with a deeper appreciation for the diversity of life that inhabits the sea  ~  you leave, knowing we must protect them.

A line once said by Jacques Cousteau, placed on one of the aquarium’s walls….

….could not ring more true for us!