Edible Marin & Wine Country: Urchin Explosion

My first attempt to free dive for red abalone was with a group of Santa Cruz–based surfers who took to the water like sea otters—popping underwater to come seemingly right back up holding a magnificent sea snail, then popping back down for another. After a while of watching from the Point Arena Pier in Mendocino, I finally worked up the courage to join them. Making my way through the churning Pacific, it felt like being caught in a washing machine. And then there were the frequent stops needed to disentangle myself from long strands of kelp.

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