Tuesday, October 22, 2019

California Coast, Part 3: Wildlife

10/15/19 Each of those black marks is a sea lion on Bird Rock near Pebble Beach.
10/14/19 Sunbathing lizard, Pt. Lobos Reserve

Although experiencing the central California Pacific Coast was our primary goal, my sketching highlight of the trip was wildlife – both free and in captivity. Although I did sketch a sunbathing lizard at Point Lobos Reserve and a couple of harbor seals lying around in Monterey Bay, seeing wildlife in the wild was mostly an exercise in frustration. Bird Rock, a small island along the 17-Mile Drive, was covered with sea lions happily barking in the sunshine. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring binoculars, and the coin-op scopes available there took only quarters – which we also didn’t bring. (We always empty our pockets and purse of jingling money before we arrive at TSA.) I made the best of it and sketched what I could see (top of post).

We made up for our previous frustrations with a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Though I had heard much about it before our trip, and though many friends had told me it was a “must-do,” I had been ambivalent. I’m always a little leery when I’m told something must not be missed because I imagine it to be mobbed with tourists. I was also taken aback by the admission price, which is $50 each.
10/15/19 Harbor seals and cormorants in
Monterey Bay
The minute I walked in, however, I was very happy that we decided to go. Although filled with people, the huge facility never felt over-crowded. One of the best live animal attractions I have ever visited, the Monterey Aquarium ensures that all the fish, birds and other animals are easily and closely visible. The mostly well-lighted exhibits make it easy to sketch. Regularly scheduled feedings of fish in the Kelp Forest, penguins and adorable otters were especially fun. In fact, the otter feeding alone was worth the price of a ticket!

If I lived nearby, I would have purchased an annual membership pass on the spot just to be able to be mesmerized by bioluminescent moon jellies whenever I wanted. (See my video of one of those magical critters on Instagram.)

10/16/19 Diver feeding fish and shark in the Kelp Forest exhibit, Monterey Bay Aquarium

I tried to keep the various fish to scale as they swam by.
The motion of the batray's "wings" is fascinating to watch.

Each South African penguin wore a name band.

The sea bird exhibit was one of my favorites. It includes a female willet that is 32 years old --
nearly as old as the Monterey Aquarium itself.

Cuttlefish and squid

Happy 30 years to us!


  1. I love the sketches of the aquarium creatures. I was there so long ago but still remember how impressed I was by the huge kelp forest, those adorable otters, and the wonderful jellyfish. It gave me an appreciation for those yucky creatures I would occasionally encounter at the beaches here. lol

    1. Thanks! I had so much fun there! I'd be sketching there regularly if I lived nearby.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...