Day two of Daisy and Megan’s Coastal Adventure dawned rainy, which was okay, because this was our day for the aquarium. Our hotel, in a nice variation on the standard “fruit and pastries in the lobby” breakfast, delivered it to our door in a charming basket. It did mean that we had to make our own tea in the microwave, but on the other hand, we didn’t have to get dressed.
Thanks to the rain, the main drag of tourist Monterey was empty, but the aquarium was plenty crowded. Not overwhelmingly so, but enough that you had to wait for your turn to look through the little windows. (Probably not helping things was the fact that an entire wing was closed. Also: only great white in captivity anywhere in the world. That may have been a factor.) As it happened, we got to the deep ocean exhibit just before the feeding, which was exciting, but not in the way you might have expected. The white shark was there, smallish but plenty menacing, what with the cultural associations and all, and I couldn’t help noticing his dorsal fin ever so slightly breaking the surface while he circled around the top of the tank, but he didn’t exactly live up to his “apex predator” billing. It turns out that, in this particular case, tuna and dolphin fish beat juvenile great white in terms of speed and boney skeleton-having (useful information for your next round of rock-paper-scissors-tuna-juvenile great white, I think).
Needless to say, I plopped myself down on the floor with the rest of the little kids and watched the whole thing.
The rest of the aquarium was, as always, interesting and entertaining, but I was somewhat annoyed by the blatantly activist tone of a lot of the newer displays. I mean, yeah, I get it, there are a lot of threats to the oceans, and fighting them is a big part of the aquarium’s mission, but does that really mean they have to suck the fun out of everything? Yeah, I know, I’m an evil selfish cynic, but still, what happened to learning for its own sake? Why not actually tell us something about these animals other than that it’s our fault they’re all gonna die? Not to mention the fact that by the thirty or fortieth time you’ve heard that something is an absolutely critical disaster situation, you tend to kind of tune out. But then, I repeat, me=evil cynic. But you knew that already.
When we had seen absolutely everything there was to see at the aquarium (twice for the otters), we took ourselves off for a late lunch at a restaurant on the wharf, where we saw our very own wild otter show, and I ordered a very silly drink served in a whole pineapple, because that is the sort of thing I will do if there isn’t anyone around to stop me.
It was still early when we left Monterey, so we decided to come back by way of Highway 1. It was a beautiful drive, but a quiet one, because driving up 1 in the rain is a task that requires a certain amount of concentration. But we made it back just fine.