The Sardines of Cannery Row : Monterey : California

The Sardines of Cannery Row : Monterey : California


Here are the last of the Cannery Row sardines …………. What seems like tens of thousands of them swim together in endless circles in a simply amazing display in the Monterey Aquarium ……… Its such an amazing display it stayed in my mind from the last time I was here over 10 years back it was the main thing I remembered although the sea otter tank is amazing too …………..

Weirdly the sardines seem happy enough even though they are totally packed in together …….. like er….. well you know ……… like sardines ………. hehehehe ………. I always thought the packed together “like sardines” referred to the cans of sardines …….. But it might well come from life in this tank ………… To be fair left to their own devices they would swim this packed together even in the open ocean ……… they love a bit of close quarters living …….. yeah they like it like this ……………… safety in numbers and all that ………….. apparently predators are confused by and wary of their giant shoals because as all the fish move as one they appear as one giant creature.

Monterey had been a town that had a mega sardine canning business ………. during the first world war canned fish for soldiers meant fortunes were made ………. same again in the second world war ……….. but the total over fishing of all the nearby fishing grounds …….. meant eventually there was no more fish. ……………

So without fish ……… Monterey fell on hard times ………. I am in Monterey writing this now ………….. a town basically only saved by tourism ……… A tourism apparently created by Steinbeck novels ………….. So I really have no excuse for not reading John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ now that I am really in Steinbeck country ……… Well actually while here in Monterey…….. I should be reading the Steinbeck novel about Monterey and the characters in its fish business : ‘Cannery Row’.


PS……… This is shot on the little Sony NEX7 :-))))))))))) XXXXXXXX

[ 10 ] comments

  • The one in the middle looks like a small shark pretending to be a sardine ha ha ha 🙂

    The Rubber Shark from Jaws 1 @ July 3, 2014, 9:27 pm

  • It’s true I would be worried if I was the one in front… He appears to be a small shark or a canibal sardine fish hehehehe…. Cheers Jez XXX

    Jezblog CA :-))) XX @ July 4, 2014, 3:11 pm

  • Yes…kinda reminds me of the traffic out know sometimes I sentimentality and rather patronisingly see the Vietnamese as a serene, happy, smiling people…and other times I think that Nixon and Kissinger might have actually been onto something!

    Wacko Jackuss xxx @ July 4, 2014, 12:06 am

  • Yes this tank has the ambiance of joining Mr Twan on his scooter… The overall vibe is of communal cooperation but contained within are I individual acts of madness affecting the those immediately around and adding to an overall sensation of madness…hehehehe…. I mean I think you could close your eyes and walk out confidently and steadily amongst these fish the way you are supposed to be able to in Saigon traffic… But I have a feeling if I did it … They might pirahhnna me and the equivilant would happen in Saigon traffic… I tend to prefer the westeners crazed dash to the serene no hestitation stroll under the benign/commie crazed gaze of Uncle Ho :-)))Cheers jez XX

    Jezblog CA :-))) XX @ July 4, 2014, 2:59 pm

  • Okay..have to admit it.. Although pretty well read.. I’ve never actually read “The grapes of wrath” either..but if it’s anything like “Of mice and men” then I really wouldn’t bother, because IMHO it was dire, turgid and sentimental…if you really want something truly epic then ditch the Americans and go for the Russians just finished “Life and Fate” by Vassily Grossman, a fictionalized account of the siege of Stalingrad (which he covered as a journalist) and was suppressed by the Soviet authorities until the 1980s.. now that really WILL rock your world!!

    Jackuss xxx @ July 4, 2014, 12:15 am

  • I have a copy of The Grapes of Wrath… But I have still not read a page … This is the ammo I need to hold my position … While I quickly learn to speak Russian to appreciate their literature to the full hehehehehe….. Cheers bro Jez XXPS …. Bazza is coming over to show me how to BBQ on the beach for July 4th …. I think it might be against the law to be reading a Russian novel on Independence Day … But I’m not sure hehehehe…. Cheers bro XXXXX

    Jezblog CA :-))) XX @ July 4, 2014, 3:08 pm

  • Hey Jez,Let me give you the cliff notes version of The Grapes of Wrath: The narrative is a critique of selfishness and self-centeredness. The story demonstrates how selfish, self-centered people ruin things for everyone else.

    Steinbeck’s goal was to put a tag shame on greedy, self-centered people.

    Here’s a quote from the book: This is the beginning — from I to we. If you, who own the things people must have, could understand this, you might preserve yourself. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into I, and cuts you off forever from the we.

    Anyway, probably not the book for you …

    Steve @ July 9, 2014, 11:43 pm

  • Ah more snidey almost open attacks ….. nice……. Look I am a freelance photographer I do not own a big middle class life in the suburbs …… or much of anything at the moment ……. my stuff is in bags …….. I have a big red car that you have seen ……… But I live pretty well nowhere …. I am on the road ………My understanding of the little that I have read of ‘The Grapes Of Wrath” is that the book is primarily about economic insecurity that forces a whole family on to the road ………. Perhaps in contrast to your accusation the book is actually not for you?

    You no doubt have a proper job and own a proper economically secure life that you grasp on to…. the way you say is central to the message of the book ….. you no doubt live safe, have a safe job at say… a university? and go to church on Sundays ….. Nothing wrong with that of course…………

    But that is not really my life is it? My life is a little closer to that of the Joad’s.

    I doubt very much that you have slept in rental cars a couple of times in the last few weeks or driven all night over and over again in the last decade ……. I doubt very much that you have ever known economic insecurity or actual insecurity threatening your life as you travel …….. i doubt you have in the last few weeks….. been chased by military helicopter ? …. sat under an underpass by a fire with homeless people ?….. trailed down a highway with refugees or slept in the desert with economic migrants ? ……..

    You are of course free to make any accusation you choose….. but I doubt many people would judge that your life is better described by this piece of prose below (that brings a modern world take to the Steinbeck novel) more accurately than it perhaps describes mine…… So contratry to your accusation that the novel might not be for me……. Actually it occurs to me it might not be for you ? …. And actually might be perhaps much better understood by me?

    Just a possible thought…… a suggestion for a moment of self reflection to someone accusing another of being too self centered and greedy to understand other peoples lives……

    Cheers Jez


    Men walkin’ ‘long the railroad tracks
    Goin’ someplace there’s no goin’ back
    Highway patrol choppers comin’ up over the ridge

    Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
    Shelter line stretchin’ ’round the corner
    Welcome to the new world order
    Families sleepin’ in their cars in the Southwest
    No home no job no peace no rest

    The highway is alive tonight
    But nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes
    I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
    Searchin’ for the ghost of Tom Joad

    He pulls a prayer book out of his sleeping bag
    Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
    Waitin’ for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
    In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass
    Got a one-way ticket to the promised land
    You got a hole in your belly and gun in your hand
    Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
    Bathin’ in the city aqueduct

    The highway is alive tonight
    Where it’s headed everybody knows
    I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
    Waitin’ on the ghost of Tom Joad

    Now Tom said “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beatin’ a guy
    Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
    Where there’s a fight ‘gainst the blood and hatred in the air
    Look for me Mom I’ll be there
    Wherever there’s somebody fightin’ for a place to stand
    Or decent job or a helpin’ hand
    Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free
    Look in their eyes Mom you’ll see me.”

    Well the highway is alive tonight
    But nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes
    I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
    With the ghost of old Tom Joad

    Bruce Sprigsteen


    Jezblog ATL :-)))))))) XXXXXXX @ July 10, 2014, 4:56 am

  • Fyi, The Grapes of Wrath truly is about how wealthy and greedy owners of corporate farms in California took advantage of the workers and farmers who migrated from the Midwest to California due in part to the Dust Bowl. The book was Steinbeck’s attempt to expose and condemn greed and selfishness. The Springsteen reference to Tom Joad is not to the fact that Joad was some sort of a hobo or a traveller, in fact Joad had a family and responsibilities. The reference is to who Tom Joad eventually became because of his experiences in California.

    N. Owens @ July 19, 2014, 6:04 pm

  • Yes, sort of …… but the book is certainly absolutely about economic uncertainty and physical uncertainty ……. I did not say Tom Joad or his family were either hobos or modern travelers who might be doin it for the fun of it …….. He is a man returning from having been away in prison …….. His family are pushed on to the road as the economics of their home life have been destroyed …….. it’s an angry bitter book …….. the preacher dies as a strike breaker…….. joad is on the road and a fugitive from the authorities…….. the grandparents die as they travel……. he is interested in and motivated by justice he sees the authorities acting to suppress ordinary people ………. it is absolutely a book about justice and anger at in injustice ……. but it is also very much about having to keep moving to keep bread in the family mouths and to escape the authorities …….. its very very much about economic insecurity and physical insecurity…… about the reality of living without the certainty of a secure home….. like I say even from just the things my former girlfriend had said…… and very much from the lyrics of the Springsteen song…… I actually always have had a feeling of identifying with the Tom Joad character …….. and now having read the book …. thats not really diminished ….. even the issue of union activity and violence over strike breaking ….. I have witnessed all that I have seen people be hospitalized and even die on picket lines…. I have experienced management and police violence myself during strikes ……. And the anger and bitterness of unemployment ….. I know that first hand in my family and home city…… like I say there is something about the Tom Joad character that talks to me ……. talks to me a lot…………Cheers Jez

    Jezblog ATL :-)))))))) XXXXXXX @ July 19, 2014, 11:23 pm

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