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Two Decades of Kids and Counting

By Sally Torbey

About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ...  (More)

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Sleeping with the fish

Uploaded: Mar 8, 2016
I doubt there is a better sleep aide than watching fish float in kelp swaying gently to and fro, unless it is studying an amorphous cluster of hundreds of anchovies swirling in the water. I recently chaperoned a high school sleep over at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and was lulled to sleep by the sight of the kelp and the sardines, and the crashing of the waves of the coastal beach exhibit. I awoke in the early morning to see shafts of sunlight streaming through the kelp forest.

For a few precious hours that evening, and the next morning, we had the kelp forest tank and surrounding exhibits to ourselves. With no crowds to maneuver around, it was possible to peacefully observe and enjoy all the mesmerizing sights of the underwater world.

During the day, the octopuses are often hard to spot, camouflaged by color and texture to perfectly match their environment, but at night they are more active. An enormous octopus with a basketball-sized head moved briskly around his tank in full view, stretching out his long tentacles and displaying rows and rows of suction cups on the glass surface of the tank. He watched us intently and with as much interest as we watched him!

The bat rays in the touch tank often stay tantalizingly just out of reach during regular viewing hours, but in the evening they swam right over to us. We gently stroked their velvety backs as they glided through the shallow water.

In the morning we were able to view the rosy red sunrise from the aquarium terrace overlooking Monterey Bay. In the distance was a huge school of dolphins, and a dozen sea otters bobbed in the kelp. Just offshore, a mother and baby otter tumbled by, periodically disappearing under water, and then emerging moments later with a crab or a clam to munch. Watching the pair of otters feed and frolic was incredible, as was watching the teenagers’ unabashed excitement at all the wonders of nature around us.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Debbie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 8, 2016 at 7:52 pm

What a great experience.

Posted by LJ, a resident of another community,
on Mar 8, 2016 at 7:54 pm

All that without getting onto a boat or needing to deal with weather wow. Sounds heavenly!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 8, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi LJ,
No Dramamine required!
Hi Debbie,
I think everyone who went would jump at the opportunity to over night at the aquarium again!

Posted by Maria, a resident of University South,
on Mar 9, 2016 at 10:36 am

Great experience, I want to organize the same with a girl scout troop! Thank you for sharing!

Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Mar 9, 2016 at 11:00 am


And no antihistamines, popped ear drums, or clammy wetsuits!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 9, 2016 at 11:03 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi Maria,
The girl scouts will love it!

Posted by JK, a resident of another community,
on Mar 9, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Sounds like a magical experience, thanks for sharing!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 9, 2016 at 4:58 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi JK,
It was other worldly!

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