The pictures with this post are from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The first two, I took last year and show a couple of species of jellyfish. The Monterey Aquarium has one of the best jellyfish collections in the world. The final picture was taken by Chris. It shows the entrance to the aquarium. He took the picture with his new 14mm 2.8 L II lens. Its wide-angle characteristics account for the acute perspective point of view. The aquarium was built-in an old cannery.
Not all jellies sting, but the sea nettle does. It hunts tiny drifting animals by trailing those long tentacles and frilly mouth arms, all covered with stinging cells. When the tentacles touch prey, the stinging cells paralyze it and stick tight. From there the prey is moved to the mouth-arms and finally the mouth, where the prey is digested. Moon jellies are swept along by the ocean’s currents, but they are not just passive drifters. They can swim on their own as well. A jelly’s gentle pulsing lets it move around within the currents, traveling up and down or back and forth to find good patches of food.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is the crowned jewel of Monterey’s cannery row. When the boys were young we would always visit it. Once my Mom arranged a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium. I remember looking down into the dark waters of the aquarium’s largest fish tank, the one that held the sharks. You couldn’t really see them, but you knew that they were there. You knew with a knowing that viewing the ocean doesn’t match. I kept my hands in my pockets.