Monterey Bay: Behind the Colorways


onterey is so much more to us than colorway inspiration. This jewel is home to one of the best studied pieces of ocean on the planet, and with help will continue to be a model of environmental protection done right!


Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

is the largest protected ocean area in the continental US. These waters, known as the “Serengeti of the Sea,” start at the southern end of Big Sur and extend 6,000 square miles up past San Francisco. 

The better we understand the ocean and the issues, the better we can fix the problems! From overfishing, to pollution. Research here has serious purpose. This is a place where over 30 leading institutions collaborate to study the ocean and its issues. Learn more about the sanctuary!

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Gorgeous, serene and a powerful player in protecting our oceans. This landmark is home to thousands of animals and plants from jellies to sea turtles. Their conservation and science programs are busy....

  • bringing science to decision makers to help protect California's oceans
  • helping southern sea otters, white sharks, and blue fin tuna populations recover
  • creating effective sustainable seafood standards globally
  • helping address the plastic pollution crisis
  • championing climate action for the oceans


    Photo credit: Zhan Zhang   

    The Humpback Whale

    These massive creatures the size of buses are known for launching their bodies completely out of the water. They migrate thousands of miles every year, and pass through Monterey with their calves on their way to the warm Costa Rican waters in the winter. Their knobby and colorful markings make them easy to identify as individuals that can be tracked throughout their lifetimes. 

    Humpback whales were hunted to near extinction before a 1966 hunting moratorium, and have since made great strides in recovery. Today they are threatened by entanglement from fishing gear and ship strikes; both can be fatal. Ocean noise from ships, sonar and drilling can cause whales to be driven away from their habitats and can sometimes even to drive some to strand on beaches. NOAA's goal is to help them recover to 60% of their original population size before the days of commercial hunting. Wonderful laws and regulations are being managed to help protect these amazing creatures!

    You can support the whales by supporting a marine sanctuary and a slew of other things.  

    Photo credit: Jorge Vasconez


    Pacific Grove

    Pacific Grove! A famous breeding ground of monarch butterflies, and once home to author John Steinbeck. Here, find one of the oldest marine laboratories on the Pacific Coast, and the 2nd oldest marine life refuge in California (after Scripps in San Diego)!

    Photo credit: Cody Hiscox

    Pacific Seahorse

    One of the largest of its kind, they can grow up to a foot tall! This fish is the only seahorse found off of the California coast- and it's a favorite at the Monterey Bay Aquarium! In the wild, they're found along our coast from San Diego all the way down to Peru. Rising ocean temperatures, as during El Nino have them being spotted as far North as Los Angeles! 

    When courting they interlock tails and spin around together every day for minutes or even hours! They're weak swimmers, and use their prehensile tails to grab onto nearby objects so they don't get swept away.

    They're listed as a threatened species. Many get inadvertently caught in fishing nets, but many are purposely caught to be sold as tourist souvenirs. You can help by refusing to buy them as souvenirs, letting others know, and supporting marine protected areas!

    Photo credit: Naomi Tamar

    Giant Pacific Octopus

    Magnificent, spry and intelligent solitary creatures! Smart enough to open jars and play with toys, flexible enough to squeeze through tiny spaces. Fully grown they average about 100 pounds and 16 feet across. The largest recorded topped at over 600 pounds and 30 feet across! They have over 2,000 suction cups along their eight tentacles which gives them incredibly strong grip and dazzling senses of taste and smell. 

    The Giant Pacific Octopus stealthily changes its color by squeezing and stretching special elastic cells to adjust how much pigment is in them. They can camouflage themselves amongst intricate corals and flash vivid colored warnings to threats.  If you have a keen eye you might spot this in a tidepool along our coast! They're found in cool and shallow coastal waters (down to depths of a few hundred feet or more) from Southern California all the way up to Alaska.

    Although heavily fished as seafood, and commonly used as live reuseable bait by commercial fisherman, their populations are believed to be at healthy numbers.

    Photo credit: Jeahn Laffitte


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