Dancing Dreams of Summer Kelp Picture

Original Watercolour
by Coral Cargill

Lurking beneath the waves exists a truly magical yet largely hidden world, dominated by massive spires of giant kelp. As depths exceed about ten feet, the majestic kelp forest can gain a foothold. Capable of growing up to 100 feet in length, this gargantuan seaweed forms a living coastal band wherever rocky bottoms permit attachment.. Rising from the holdfast are tangled thickets of tough, elastic stipes, which form the scaffolding for the leaf-like kelp blades. All is bathed in a diffuse, greenish light, thanks to the microscopic phytoplankton thriving in these nutrient-rich waters.

By mid summer, the kelp canopy is at its zenith, fuelled by nutrient-rich water and sunlight. The nearly impenetrable surface mats create a dim underworld beneath the surface, even on those days when sunlight wins the battle against persistent coastal fog. Gliding beneath the canopy, surrounded by towering spires of giant kelp, the feeling is one of being immersed in an undersea cathedral.
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