The Monterey Bay is shaped like a backwards ‘C’, with its southern most tip at Point Pinos and its northern most tip at Point Santa Cruz. The Monterey Bay is bisected by the Monterey Submarine Canyon, known as the 3rd largest submarine canyon in the world. The head of the canyon starts just a mile from shore at Moss Landing, and is approximately 292 miles long, 7.5 miles wide, and is more than 2 miles deep at its deepest point. Because the submarine canyon is in such close proximity to shore, the Monterey Bay has deep, cold, nutrient-rich water all year. This oceanographic feature brings in many diverse marine mammals and sea birds that feed within the canyon and along its edge. Some of these animals include Risso’s Dolphins, Northern Right Whale Dolphins, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, and Humpback Whales.
The Monterey Bay also is part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). The MBNMS was designated in 1992 and was established for the purpose of resource protection, scientific research, education, and public use. The MBNMS was the 11th marine sanctuary designated in the United States and it is its largest!
It covers 276 miles of coastline from Marin to Cambria, encompasses 5,322 square miles of ocean, and its boundaries average 30 miles offshore. The MBNMS is home to approximately 33 species of marine mammals, 94 species of seabirds, 345 species of fishes, including sharks and rays, and during the summer and fall months, it is home to the Leatherback Sea Turtle. The Leatherback Sea Turtle migrates from Indonesia to Monterey Bay to feed on jellyfish!