Monday, March 4, 2013

Snap! Crackle! Pop!

We arrived in San Diego on Saturday and so far we’ve stayed pretty close to the boat. Ennui has set in with a vengeance.
Maybe we are just tired. It did, after all, take us five and a half weeks to get here from San Francisco! The last two days were tough. With no wind to speak of and seas as flat as glass, we motored all day Friday and again on Saturday. Other cruisers will understand. Sailing is exhilarating and energizing. Motoring hour after hour in the hot sun is boring and exhausting,

The jellyfish tanks were mesmerizing.
Having not yet begun to explore San Diego, I am going to seize the opportunity to tell you about snapping shrimp and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
As soon as we were tied to the dock in Monterey I started to notice an unfamiliar crackling sound that Mike wasn’t able to hear. It was soft and subtle, like the rustling of tissue paper or maybe light rain on the deck, but it wasn’t raining. The sound seemed to come from everywhere; crackle, crackle, snap, pop, crackle as if the boat were sitting in a huge bowl of Rice Krispies. For 2 days and nights it drove me crazy, trying to locate and identify this crackling sound that to me seemed louder by the minute but Mike could never hear.

Can you find the seahorse?

Then we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Wandering around this amazing collection of marine wildlife I thought I could hear the mystery noise following me, and was beginning to think that I might be going truly crazy, until I realized that the sound was coming from a speaker in the wall next to a detailed description of snapping shrimp. I’d never before heard of such a creature but we have continued to experience them in almost every marina down the coast. It seems they get louder (maybe larger?) as we move south and Mike is now hearing them as well. He had experienced them before in Mexico, but hadn’t realized that it was snapping shrimp I was hearing. Now that I know what they are, I am actually enjoying them and missing the sound in the few marinas where they haven’t been present. They are fascinating little creatures that stun their prey with bubbles of air shot from their snapping claw. The noise, which is actually the bubble collapsing rather than the claw snapping shut, is so loud underwater that it interferes with sonar research and made it difficult to detect enemy submarines in World War II. Amazing!


  1. Monterey Bay Aquarium - Isn't that where "Cannery Row" evolved? I love that book, and it's still one of my fav movies. The sunshine must be awesome - you sound like you're having such a great time. The camera you got (I assume that's your new one) is pretty incredible. Your pictures are beautiful, like looking right into a fish tank. Larry says hello, and Phillip too. Love you guys!

    1. Yes, part of the aquarium is in one of the old cannery buildings and there is a bit of the canneries' history at the entrance. I loved the book, too, and the history of the area is fascinating. All those sardines!!
      No, those pictures were taken before my camera drowned. I am using Mike's for now, but just can't get the hang of his touch screen. I'm still shopping. Janet

  2. Isn't Monterey Bay Aquarium absolutely magnificent - especially the leafy sea dragons and the jellies! Mom and I always go there whenever she visits. Hope you are enjoying San Diego and that your paper processing goes smoothly!


    1. It is an amazing aquarium and I almost missed it! I've seen fish and I've been to aquariums so I wasn't all that excited at the prospect. I only went to be able to share the experience with Mike. I was just blown away. There is a reason it is rated one of the best in the country! By the way, say "hi" to your Mom for me. Janet

  3. How do You prefer the little buggers - sauteed in garlic butter or chilled with cocktail sauce?