Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay is a bay of the Pacific Coast in the eponymous California city Monterey. In a narrower sense, it denotes only the actual Bay between Santa Cruz and Monterey in the north to the south with a diameter of about 40 km, but they also frequently south in the water to be added around the entire Monterey Peninsula. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, one named after the Bay Marine Protected Area of the U.S. federal government covers large parts of the central California coast and stretches from Marin, north of San Francisco in the north to Cambria, south of Monterey. It comprises 445 km of shoreline and almost 15,800 km2.


The bay is located on the central coast of California, about 120 miles south of San Francisco. In the bay originally led the Salinas River and the San Benito River. Both are tapped for irrigation of agricultural land and its river beds lead at the mouth hardly any water and often fall dry. The mouth of the San Benito River is a wetland, which is available as Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Sanctuary nature reserve. Because of the low entry of river water, the salinity of brackish water increased.

The majority of the bay falls flat to a maximum of 30 m from, the center of the bay, as an extension of Elkhorn Slough, however, begins the Monterey Canyon, a submarine canyon that leads beyond 150 km in the Pacific Ocean, while a depth of about 3600 m achieved.


Through the Monterey Canyon large quantities of cold, nutrient - and oxygen-rich deep water are guided into the bay from the California current. Therefore an exceptionally species-rich kelp forest has developed in the region.

The Tangwälder are among the most biologically diverse marine areas in the world. There live more than 1000 different species. These include not only the known as Tang, up to 70 m high giant algae of the class of Laminariales numerous types of plankton, mussels, crabs, sea snails, seahorses, wrasse, groupers, rays, sharks, sea urchins, octopus, starfish, squid, abalone, sea anemones sponges and many more.

Also benefit from the kelp beds numerous marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins, seals and sea elephants. Note the sea otters. Humpback and gray whales visit the bay on their migrations. There are also many water birds.

In the Bay, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute is located, an important means of marine research.


Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo was the first European who discovered the bay on November 16, 1542 during an expedition of the Spanish Navy. He called it Bahia de los Pinos, possibly due to the Monterey pine forests. The current name of the bay was first mentioned in 1602 by Sebastián Vizcaíno, who was commissioned to draw a detailed map of the coast. He went on today's Monterey Harbor at anchor and called the point of Puerto de Monterey in honor of the Count of Monterrey.

Monterey became the seat of the Spanish governor of Alta California and the largest military garrison. From their supply to the fish in and out of the bay became the economic base of the region. First it was the whaling, were from the 19th century, the vast shoals of sardines the bay for the people of importance. With the advent of the can end of the 19th century, the fish could also be made for longer periods treatment and thus sold nationally and exported. In the 20th century the fishing methods fishing vessels became more sophisticated, ever larger. The high season fishing on the Monterey Bay portrays John Steinbeck in his novels from the 1930s to the 1950s. The cyclic fluctuating stocks of sardine were especially so decimated during World War II for the U.S. Army rations that the swarms and the fishing industry collapsed in the 1950s.


The immortalized in the stories of John Steinbeck tradition of fishing was. Following the collapse of the sardine stocks in the form of tourism to the new economic base of the region Cannery Row is described in the novel by Steinbeck is now the entertainment district of the city of Monterey. Tourism in Monterey and the region relies heavily on the bay. Most beaches have been designated as State Beach or State Park.

An attraction in conjunction with the Bay is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world. It shows only animals and habitats of the region, from the waterfront to the front of the shelf sea coast. Simultaneously, research and conservation projects are located at the aquarium.

The bay is a premier diving area for cold water dives because of the diversity of species. Several diving schools and centers offer courses and guided dives. The diving is particularly in Monterey, where it was submerged decades ago because of the sardine fishery, a long tradition. In addition, in the bay and its environment also different kinds of whale watching are offered. The peak season for the observation of Gray Whale, Humpback Whale and Orca lasts from late December to April.