Monterey Bay Aquarium
On Historic Cannery Row

Monterey, CA

November 1, 2000

In 1990, while still finishing up my last few years of gainful employment, I received my February issue of National Geographic Magazine. For the next hour, this magazine kept me intrigued with its story of Monterey Bay, California. As life went on and I retired and began to travel, this article never left my memory. It sounded like a delightful place to visit. When the chance came we jumped on it, doing many stories in and around the Bay. My favorite place in all the sixty-some miles of Bay area will always be the city of Monterey and "Cannery Row", made famous in the book with the same name written by John Steinbeck. The marine biological wonderland that supports this area is caused by a massive deep sea canyon, as deep as the Grand Canyon of Arizona. Just off shore, the cold waters from far below up-welled carrying nutrients to the sardines above. These nutrients also fed the kelp forests which shelters a myriad of sea life. Up until the end of WW II the area was fished with reckless disregard to the requirements of nature. This was especially dramatic with the sardine industry. Dozens of sardine canneries popped up right besides one another, giving way to a thriving industry teaming with the life of the fisherman. It was in this world that John Steinbeck studied the human relationships reflected in his literary masterpiece. Finally, as with most things approached with reckless abandonment, the sardines were gone. Fished out, along with most other commercial products from the area. The canneries shut down and were abandoned and the area suffered economic depression.
It was with the knowledge of this history, that in 1977 four marine biologists at Stanford University's
Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, sat around a table doodling on napkins with designs for creating an Aquarium out of the abandoned Hovden Cannery nearby. Their ideas may have lain dormant forever as the dreams of many others have, except one of the biologists was Nancy Packard, one of David Packard's (of the Hewlett Packard Company) two daughters. With her father and sister, Julie coming on board, the idea took off and in 1984, after a one time infusion of some $55 million of the family's money, the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened its door to the public, with Julie Packard as Executive Director, and the rest is history. Our contact at the Aquarium was Karen Jeffries, a wonderful young lady who had agreed to show us around the attraction. Through her insight, we followed the development of a massive endeavor to bring to light, the secrets of the deep in Monterey Bay. The impression received coming through the front door was one that will last a life time. A huge aquarium tank, 30 feet deep displaying the centerpiece of Bay life, the long dangling kelp plants gently swaying in the current, while a myriad of fish darted in and around the forest of seaweed. Current? That's correct. The Aquarium has a surge machine that gives life to this most unusual fish tank. From its conception, the Monterey Bay Aquarium exhibits were designed to represent a living extension of Monterey Bay - the centerpiece of the nation's largest national marine sanctuary which now features more then 300,000 creatures representing more then 570 species of plants and animals from the waters of the central California coast. Seawater from the bay is piped into the aquarium at a rate of 2 thousand gallons per minute to sustain the three story living kelp forest.

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