I’ve said this before, I know, but I think it’s a place of wonder. I call it The Secret Garden because so few people know of its complex and intricate beauty. Below your keel, your spinning prop and the dock you walk on grows a remarkable nature garden. And that slick of water you sail across is just the edge of what’s below. Purple and orange sea stars slowly cruise the rocks looking for prey, while many small species of crab like the little shore crab skittles out of the way. Brilliantly-colored rockfish also ply their territory – they can live to 100 years of age but several local species are now on the Federally Endangered Species list. Chitons are here, looking like an old shoe sole, but they’re really animals slowly grazing on algae like cows. Plumose anemones appear as fields of flowers, waving in the current and waiting for tiny food morsels to drift by. Above them all are fields of kelp called sea cabbage with leaves coated with encrusting coralline algae, a pink and reddish casing that makes me think someone has painted them with acrylics. If I had a book instead of a page, I could draw you more, but you don’t have to dive to see this beautiful place. When you’re on the docks, just take a moment and get down on your belly and bend over the edge – and witness another world.
Larry Eifert paints and blogs about wild places at larryeifert.com. His work can be seen in many national parks across America.