Spines and feet of a red urchin. The urchins are eating the kelp: they are out of control because the sheephead and lobsters are so scarece; but there was lots of kelp because the abalone were killed by overfishing and disease; and the abalone were plentiful only because the otters had been hunted out.
Pipefish are relatives of sea horses. Although they're slow swimmers, pipefish are faster than me and can usually stay ahead of me underwater. This fellow was interested enough in me to watch for a few seconds: after which he was off! He was in about 15 feet of water, in a tangle of torn-off decaying kelp. I think this must provide food for his prey.
I think that this is a scalyhead sculpin because of all the flesh tabs on the face. It was on bare rock reef at Refugio. The orange patch makes it look like a sponge -- or a nudibranch, which is what I initially thought it was. I'm baffled how something that has such different colors and textures can be so well camouflaged.
Giant macrocystis kelp kelp at Judith Pinnacle. This pinnacle rises to as shallow as 50 ft, from a surrounding bottom at 120 ft. Lots of kelp grows atop the pinnacle; in my few dives there I've never seen it reach the surface, although it gets as shallow at 25 ft. Sometimes the kelp seems to deceive the depth finder on the boat into thinking that the pinnacle gets up that high. It can be a tricky dive. I always end up holding onto the kelp as I do the safety stop.