Spring is now fully under way, and as the weather gets warmer, the internet turns to nature cams. At any given time, there are thousands of live nature feeds available on YouTube and other services, but somehow they become more appealing as the snow thaws and the background starts to come alive.
Every year, a specific cam rises above the fray. 2015 was the year of Bear Cam, of course, while 2016 belonged to Eagle Cam — both of which arguably lived in the shadow of the original 2008 Puppy Cam. Each was iconic and era-defining in its own way, but they belong to the past now.
I can’t predict what will take off this year, but my read is that the internet is ready for something boldly new — something both shockingly different and possessing an ethereal calm, a necessary counterbalance to the ambient psychic distress of 2017.
In that spirit, I present to you the following: Jelly Cam.
It’s a live feed of the Open Sea exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is populated by a type of jellyfish known as a sea nettle. Native to the coastal regions of the Pacific, the nettles can deliver paralyzing stings through their tentacles, and are believed to play a crucial role in the plankton ecosystem. The aquarium site informs us they may travel as much as 3,600 vertical feet over the course of a day. One nettle is slightly larger than the others; I have chosen to call him Timothy.
Like Eagle Cam and Bear Cam before it, Jelly Cam connects us to an aestheticized version of the natural world. The sea nettles are framed in close-up, their trailing tentacles and mouth-arms casting otherworldly yellows and browns against the deep blue of the tank. More abstract than its predecessors, Jelly Cam presents us with the danger of Bear Cam without its brutality, the raw pleasures of Puppy Cam without the attendant naïveté.
Try it out next time you’re bored at work. And if that doesn’t work, you can always watch the llama escape again.