I live on the Pacific coast with its mighty forests of Douglas fir, red cedar, hemlock and other trees. However, equally close to our house is a forest of another kind. This is the mighty kelp forest (Nereocystis luetkeana – 10′ to 100′ in length, edible). From my studio I can see, just breaking the surface, the floating bulbs of the bull kelp. When some is broken loose in a storm and washed ashore, it looks like great, translucent, tapered, amber plastic tubes, yards long, with a bulbous end mounted with very long, wavy fronds. High and dry they look sad and stranded but under water they are visually among the most exciting plants in the world, not to mention one of the largest seaweeds. They wave and undulate in constantly changing patterns like a kaleidoscope. The sun glows through them so it seems they are lit from within. They are always graceful. Their rhythms immediately bring to mind masterpieces of ‘art nouveau’. I have snorkeled and scuba-dived through and around these kelp forests. It is always as visually thrilling as a visit to an art museum.
– Robert Bateman