October 9, 2023 | Leg 8, Day 9

October 9, 2023 | Leg 8, Day 9. 
Monterey Bay, CA

Aloha from Monterey, California…

Canoe tours and presentations wrapped up over the weekend, so now we’ve had a day to take in some of what the area has to offer. Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best aquariums in the world, and we were able to take part in a behind-the-scenes tour. We learned about the local marine environment, as well as deep water species, bioluminescent plankton, and tropical pelagic species. They have a 1.2 million gallon tank with ahi, mahi mahi, sharks, turtles, and a bait ball. Awesome stuff.

After that we got to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute a little further north in the bay. The research institute is right at the top of the Monterey Submarine Canyon, an underwater canyon larger than the Grand Canyon that spreads offshore to the abyssal plain. They carry out research all around the world, but mainly around the northern Pacific Ocean. We toured their engineering shops, where they build and test underwater autonomous vehicles. We got to go aboard their 126’ research vessel, which they launch and control the UAV’s from, and talk to the crew about what it’s like running a scientific research vessel. It was good fun comparing stories from being at sea on that, versus a Polynesian voyaging canoe.

This week, we have some bad weather coming in, and the next stretch south to Morro Bay is 105 miles of rough ocean down Big Sur, heading towards Point Conception. We won’t be heading out until it’s safe and it’s looking like that will be towards the end of the week, so we are looking forward to a few more days to explore the area. We’ve got spots to go surf, a day of local sailing races to take part in, kayaking, big meals with new friends… it should be a good week.

-JD Castile