Showing posts tagged as "exhibit updates"
Have you tried the “Otter Spotter Station” on our ocean-view decks? Guests counted 26 otters floating in kelp beds today, including moms and pups. It could be a record! Come look through our scopes and binoculars and see if you can count them all.
Want another view of our peacock mantis shrimp? Those claws can shatter a clam shell, crack open a crab or shatter glass!
Have you seen them? We’ve had blue blubber jellies on display in “The Jellies Experience” before, but this maroon version is new to us. Spectacular, don’t you think?
Here’s today’s #puzzler: What’s the California state marine fish? One was recently added to the Sea Otter exhibit!
(Answer: The Garibaldi is the state marine fish of California!)
Did you know that we sometimes collect beautiful specimens for exhibit right near the Aquarium? A flower-like feather duster worm was recently added to the barnacle exhibit, from the nearby Coast Guard Pier!
Senior Guest Experience Trainer Steven Johnston has been following a certain humpback whale—nicknamed Big Fin—for more than a decade. But after no sightings for two years, he feared the worst. Then, in mid-May, Big Fin returned to Monterey Bay! We’ll let Steve pick up Big Fin’s story….
I first was introduced to this whale in 2004 by the captains of Sanctuary Cruises out of Moss Landing. They had nicknamed her “Big Fin” due to the unusual shape of her dorsal fin. The captains told me they had first seen her in 2001, and each year since. Each odd-numbered year she had a calf. One of the best things about Big Fin is that she almost always hung out two to three miles outside Moss Landing, so she was often the first whale we saw on the way out or the last whale we saw on the way in.
In 2008, one of our volunteers sent me a photo of a whale tail that he had taken. I e-mailed him back and said, “I know that whale!” He had sent me a photo of Big Fin without ever knowing her story!
In 2010 I was doing a presentation about humpbacks, and invited Kate, one of the captains of Blue Ocean Whale Watch, also out of Moss Landing, as my guest. As Kate looked at my photos, she yelled, “I know that whale—I have her photo in my boat for passengers!”
In 2011 I went out with Blue Ocean in June. At that point Kate had not seen Big Fin yet that year, but we were hopeful. About a mile out she spotted a blow another couple of miles out. As we got closer, Kate yelled to me that she was sure it was Big Fin. Sure enough! We could also see that the baleen in the front of her mouth is white and shriveled, perhaps due to gum disease, or possibly damage to her jaw from fishing gear. It clearly isn’t very functional. She tips her head back and uses baleen that is farther back in her mouth to filter out her food, so the damage may not be in her whole mouth.
In 2012 no one that I know saw big Fin, and we were afraid that our friend might indeed have died of old age. However, on May 14 of this year, Kate said they had seen Big Fin that morning, and picked her out in the distance by her feeding method! It’s really good to know that our old friend is still around. No calf in sight, so she may indeed be old, but she’s still here!
The giant Pacific octopus: male or female? That’s a question we’re often asked. If you’re facing our exhibit currently, the one on the left is male, the one on the right is female. Right now, they’re hard to tell apart. But on occasion, a female will lay thousands of eggs, which look like small clusters of grapes, on the exhibit glass. Then you’ll know for sure!
Did you know that routine plumbing maintenance at the Aquarium sometimes yields interesting specimens for exhibit, like these gooseneck barnacles?
Our puffin exhibit in the Open Sea wing was briefly closed for repair work, but it’s open again and the birds are oh-so-happy to be back. Can you tell? They’re also sporting spring plumage!
An endangered loggerhead sea turtle is making a splash on exhibit. Learn more in our latest podcast!