Sam and Mark's Super Happy Wedding Funtime

The Kelp Forest

Posted on: October 4, 2011

Let’s just say I’ve been very, very stressed over work lately. Long days, long nights, booo, no fun. So when Mark started planning a romantic getaway to Monterey, I thought he was just being nice. Because he is nice. That’s the kind of guy he is. A nice guy.

So I’m excited. Monterey is the gleaming carrot at the end of my week, pushing me to move forward. When Friday arrives, and 3 o’clock hits, I turn off all access to work and we hit the road. We planned to grab a quick coffee on our way out of town (as most of you know, my preferred method of travel includes a latte), so we stopped at our local Peet’s where, in my excitement, I fumble with my phone and drop it face first on the hard, cold cement of the parking structure. The face shatters. My heart sinks.

I was planning to post 1000 pictures of the same jellyfish to twitter. This is my favorite hobby. Now the will be no pictures of jellyfish. There will be no excited and/or snarky tweets. There will be no way to prove that I was having a relaxing and fun weekend. Mark immediately suggested going to the apple store. It told him it was only a thing and it didn’t matter and hey- look it still works. You just get a little glass in your fingers. He suggested another apple store, closer to the freeway. I said this is silly, let’s get a coffee and get on the road. We did that. We also looked up the closest apple store to Monterey.


I did wonder why he was so worried about my phone. I chalked it up to me being so stressed and him wanting me to have a nice weekend. We continued to Monterey.

We checked in to the Spindrift Inn on Cannery Row. Our room had a window seat overlooking the bay, and we could see otters (with the help of binoculars) from our window. It was wonderful.

My person face was apparently very sad every time I looked at my shattered phone face, so we wandered up to the apple store in Monterey. We were told it would be easy to fix if we were willing to pay. Mark said he would pay to get it fixed, but there were no appointments left that night. How about early tomorrow? He was really concerned about my phone. I said, let’s enjoy our weekend and worry about this when we get back.

We ended up having a lovely dinner at Restaurant 1833. Randomly. I thought this would be nice, as our only plans for dinner had been The Fish Hopper. Which, while perfectly adequate, was not the sort of romantic dinner place I had imagined. We drank Italian bubbly and had multiple courses. We talked about our favorite parts of the aquarium and planned the day ahead. It was a lovely evening. I was very happy.

The next morning I woke up early and stared out the window. Breakfast was delivered and while it was not at all delicious, it did mean we got to spend more time looking out at the beautiful water and fending off the occasional seagull that tried to land on our windowsill. We headed to the aquarium.

It was Otter Days at the aquarium, so we got to go on a special behind the scenes tour highlighting the SORAC-y things. They are the sea otter watchdogs, so it was fascinating to learn more about otters and what is done for them- both at the aquarium and in the wild. After the tour, we wandered down to look at the white shark in the Open Sea exhibit and the octopus. We stopped briefly at the Kelp Forest, one of my favoritest places in all of the aquarium, but there were divers cleaning the glass and scaring away all the fish. We said hello to the octopus then grabbed a glass of water in the cafe. We sat and stared at each other for a minute before “I’m sleepy!” came out of my mouth. I hadn’t had any caffeine. I woke up early to look at otters. I had been working weeks and weeks of 12 hour days. I was sleepy.


Mark asked if I wanted to take a nap, we could go back, take a nap, then return to the aquarium. Nah, that is ok. Let’s press on. No, you should take a nap, or we could get coffee. Look, I said, the cafe is closing, we’d have to go out to get coffee.

Ok, let’s go.

What? Are you serious?

Yes. You are tired. You need caffeine. Let’s go get a coffee.

So we went to get a coffee. We had our hands stamped, and headed down the road. The day was a bit gloomy and cool, the fresh air was nice. We stopped in at Starbucks for a drink, watched the tourists wander by the window and I slowly woke up. Perhaps a little too much because my next suggestion was to go down to the little beach and look at the water.

The beach was filled with kids playing chase with the incoming tides. It was a tiny spit of sand but it was lovely. We stood there looking at the water and breathing in the sea air when suddenly, the water was comingreally close to where we were standing. Too close. Too fast! I ended up soaking myself. Of course I tried to play it cool, until we returned to our suite where I lost it. My only shoes were soaked! My only pants, soaked! My phone was broken! Gaaaaaah, why do I ruin everything!

Mark calmed me down. We tried drying my insoles, but the hairdryer decided it didn’t want to work for us. I changed into a dress I had in case we went somewhere nice (which was ironic, i thought, because the only nice place we were going to go was where we had gone the night before- tonight really would be The Fish Hopper). We looked out at the water outside our window. I told mark I could just stay here all weekend. He said: oh, the aquarium closes at 6:30 not 7:30. We should go.

Normally, I would have said no, but he wanted to take a few more pictures and we had planned to pick up a gift for my mom at the the shop. Plus I had calmed down from my “I ruin everything I touch” tantrum and the caffeine had kicked in. I said sure, stuck my feet in my soggy shoes, and we headed back.

We looked at the shark. We looked at the otters. We headed over to the kelp forest.

It was the end of the day. Most everyone was in the Open Sea exhibit checking out the shark. We sat on the benches looking at the kelp forest. The divers were gone.

The kelp forest is by far one of my most favorite places in the aquarium. The tank is open at the top, so the sunlight shines through the water. There are all sorts of fishes and plants and starfish and anemones. The glass tanks are huge, going up to the roof above- it feels like a church. It looks like the stained glass of a church, but it makes me feel comfortable in a way no church ever could. It feels peaceful and serene and magical. We sat on our pew looking at the glass, watching the leopard sharks swim and the giant kelp sway.

Mark put his arm around me. I felt a nervous energy that I hadn’t felt since the first time he kissed me. He told me he had one more surprise for me this weekend. He had a question for me. He reached into his camera bag and pulled out a blue box. I was so thrilled and excited and happy I think I might have said yes before he even asked the question. Eventually I let him ask, and I even let him put the ring on my finger. My answer was an overwhelmingly excited yes.


Mark, of course, had dinner reservations ready. A charming little French place called Bistro Moulin. I called my parents, texted a few folks (some of which, I found out later, I don’t have the right numbers for), then we headed out for a delightful dinner that I don’t even remember because I was too busy being the Happiest Woman on Earth.



3 Responses to "The Kelp Forest"

Aww, that is so cute. *snif* Congratulations, you two.

Thanks, Karen! We aim for cute 🙂

What a fantastic little 5 minutes I just spent sharing your exciting weekend (and procrastinating)! 🙂 I loved it all! Quick….write some more so I don’t have to do laundry, grocery errands, and weekend school work just yet. 🙂


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Sam and Mark

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