It was soon after we moved here that, while kayaking one morning, I came across a set of odd buoys randomly spaced throughout the Cove. Scientific experiment, a label said, and I just assumed it had something to do with fish.
What it was, though, was the seeding of kelp beds, replacing the underwater forest that once grew throughout the Santa Monica Bay. Now, all these years later, the buoys are gone but the kelp beds remain. Their health and breadth fluctuates depending on water temps, urchin populations, and pollution levels. During El Nino, they all but vanish. In colder years, they come back strong.
See that flat spot of water in the photo of today's daybreak? That's a kelp bed, keeping the water still, sheltering an ecosystem of fish and other creatures. You'll see seals there, dolphins making their rounds, pelicans diving and eating and just floating about.
Kayak out to the west and an enormous bed rises like magic from the ocean floor. Paddle to the middle and the floating fronds catch your little boat, hold you still, hold the water so still it's clear all the way to the bottom. You watch sea rays and see sea stars and catch the occasional golden glitter of a garibaldi, and you're held the whole time by that kelp bed, the tide slowly moving, the kayak gently rocking.