Why write for oceans? ~ Joy of weaving connections ~ With conservation

Welcome to my ocean home. Monterey Bay is a crescent-shaped indentation along the central California coast. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote that General Sherman described the bay as a “bent fishing-hook” with Santa Cruz at the shank and Monterey beside the barb. If you walk the entire coastline, which I did recently, it’s about 40 miles (60 km) from Santa Cruz at the north end to Monterey at the south end. If you paddle across (which endurance athlete Terri Schnieder has done), it’s about 25 miles (40 km).

The bay’s geology makes it amazingly beautiful — sandy shores and great dunes, sloughs and estuaries, rocky cliffs and tidepools, lush reefs and out-of-sight submarine canyons. The Monterey Submarine Canyon is the largest off of North America and, at a maximum depth of 12,713 feet (3250 m), is deeper than the Grand Canyon. This diversity of environments provides living space for an impressive array of biota.

According to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary website, the sanctuary (of which Monterey Bay is a small part) is home to 26 marine mammal species, 94 seabird species, 345 fish species, 4 turtle species, 31 invertebrate phyla (just imagine the number of species!) and 450+ marine alga species. Amazing numbers.

Every time I venture onto the bay in my kayak or walk the shoreline, I encounter something new—sometimes an organism that’s new to me; sometimes an old acquaintance doing something new (to me). Often I get to witness the dynamic forces of weather and water, from the changing light of shifting fog (I’ve learned to love fog) to booming winter surf at high tide.

This blog is about my weekly (hopefully) explorations and encounters with local bay-to-beach life. I hope to connect you with my home as well as encourage you to explore yours no matter where you live. I’m well aware of the dire news out there about our impacts, and I’ll be sharing some of that. But mostly I want to celebrate this amazing blue ball we find ourselves on, share how the ocean touches each of us every day, and remind everyone that conservation begins at home.

Sunny skies above ~ bank of offshore fog serves as ~ backdrop for sailboats