Monterey Bay

Last updated on 7 June 2017

Monterey Bay is a bay of the Pacific Ocean located on the coast of the U.S. state of California. The bay is south of the major cities of San Francisco and San Jose. The county-seat city of Santa Cruz is located at the north end of the bay. The city of Monterey is on the Monterey Peninsula at the south end. The Monterey Bay Area is a local colloquialism sometimes used to describe the whole of the Central Coast communities of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

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The Monterey Bay, as seen from space, stretches from Santa Cruz in the north to the Monterey Peninsula in the south
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Monterey Bay, California.
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Cormorant "condo" in Monterey Bay

Toponymy

The first European to discover Monterey Bay was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo on November 16, 1542 while sailing northward along the coast on a Spanish naval expedition. He named the bay Bahía de los Pinos,[1] probably because of the forest of pine trees first encountered while rounding the peninsula at the southern end of the bay.[2] Cabrillo's name for the bay was lost, but the westernmost point of the peninsula is still known as Point Pinos.

On December 10, 1595, Sebastián Rodríguez Cermeño crossed the bay and bestowed the name Bahía de San Pedro in honor of Saint Peter Martyr.[2][3]

The present name for the bay was documented in 1602 by Sebastián Vizcaíno, who had been tasked by the Spanish government to complete a detailed chart of the coast. He anchored in what is now the Monterey harbor on December 16, and named it Puerto de Monterrey, in honor of the Conde de Monterrey, then viceroy of New Spain.[1] Monterrey is an alternate spelling of Monterrei, a municipality in the Galicia region of Spain from which the viceroy and his father (the Fourth Count of Monterrei) originated.

All other place names in the vicinity containing Monterey were so named because of their proximity to the bay. This includes the Presidio of Monterey, City of Monterey, County of Monterey and Monterey Canyon.

Geology

The Monterey Canyon, one of the largest underwater canyons in the world, begins off the coast of Moss Landing, exactly in the center of Monterey Bay.

Flora and fauna

Monterey Bay is home to many species of marine mammals, including sea otters, harbor seals, and bottlenose dolphins; as well as being on the migratory path of Gray and Humpback Whales and a breeding site for elephant seals. Killer whales are also found along the coast, especially when Gray whales migrate, as they hunt the whales during their migration north. Many species of fish, sharks, mollusks such as abalone and squid, birds, and sea turtles also live in the bay. Several varieties of kelp grow in the bay, some becoming as tall as trees, forming what is known as a kelp forest.

Marine protected areas

Soquel Canyon State Marine Conservation Area, Portuguese Ledge State Marine Conservation Area, Pacific Grove Marine Gardens State Marine Conservation Area, Lovers Point State Marine Reserve, Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area and Asilomar State Marine Reserve are marine protected areas in Monterey Bay. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.

Communities around Monterey Bay

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Panorama of Monterey Bay from Jacks Peak Park
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Sea otter coming ashore, Moss Landing.

Clockwise around the bay, generally from north to south. Inland communities are indented:

Gallery

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Monterey Bay seen with the old Cannery Foundations

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One of many beaches along the Monterey Bay coast line

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Monterey Bay as seen from Soquel, CA. The Moss Landing power plant is visible in the distance.

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Scuba diving lessons in the bay, near Monterey, California

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Albert Bierstadt, "Bay of Monterey," oil on paper, no date.

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Aerial view of the north end of Monterey Bay at Santa Cruz

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Gudde, Erwin G. (1949). California Place Names. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p. 222. ASIN B000FMOPP4.
  2. ^ a b Clark, Donald T. (1991). Monterey County Place Names. Carmel Valley, Calif.: Kestrel Press. p. 322. ISBN 978-1-880478-00-4.
  3. ^ Wagner, Henry R. (1937). Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to the Year 1800. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p. 398. ASIN B001K5A42S.

External links

Coordinates: 36°48′N 121°54′W / 36.800°N 121.900°W / 36.800; -121.900

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