Journeying Oregon’s New Marine Reserves by Bike: Otter Rock

Photo: A misty morning at Otter Rock Marine Reserve. Photograph by Helen Helfand.

By Chris Rurik and Helen Helfand

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We walk on the ocean floor in Otter Rock Marine Reserve, and we may as well be underwater, the air is so thick with mist. The low tide has exposed a glinting stage of seaweed full of clefts and holes. The ocean churns powerfully just beyond us, nipping at our shoes as we slip around.

Photo: A misty morning at Otter Rock Marine Reserve. Photograph by Helen Helfand.

This morning, our bikes are off locked to a signpost. We explore free of our gear, crouching next to tide pools one by one to gaze at the creatures tucked into their corners — hermit crabs behind scraps of kelp, gorgeous green anemones, camouflaged sculpins shaped like small battering rams, purple urchins in rock alcoves. Some tide pools are barren of anything but pebbles and snails, some are clogged with algae, some are living murals more colorful than any art museum’s collection. Movement is as subtle as a barnacle’s tiny cirri waving in the water for nutrients, and the longer we look in a pool, the more we discover. We record shaky videos and laugh at the —> Read More Here

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