“I didn’t expect anything like this. Stalks of kelp that were 8 feet high and long strands at the top that made this golden bed… This is clearly a unique habitat.”
Success! After two prior attempts foiled by bad weather and rough seas, last weekend Brian Skerry at last reached Cashes Ledge and was able to explore this extraordinary, ecologically important seascape – a first for the peripatetic Skerry. For two days Brian and his crew swam in Cashes’ unearthly kelp forests, among its waving amber fronds and remarkable red cod, making pictures that will reveal the mysteries and beauty of this unique New England treasure so far unknown to most.
About 80 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, Cashes Ledge is a submerged mountain range that nearly pierces the surface of the ocean and is home to the deepest kelp forest in the North Atlantic. Fields of anemones and brightly-colored sponges produce a fascinating marine landscape surrounding Ammen Rock, the highest peak of Cashes Ledge and New England’s underwater equivalent of Mount Washington.
Cashes Ledge is important not only to marine organisms but also to people hoping to learn about the history of New England’s oceans – many scientists believe that Cashes Ledge represents the best remaining example of an undisturbed Gulf of Maine ecosystem.
We will be sharing some of the extraordinary pictures Brian made – and the stories that go with them – next week. Stay tuned!