ab face
The last thing you see before you die. The face of the normally peaceful abalone in killer mode. Photo: UC Davis Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory White Abalone Recovery Team.

There is a legend, spawned deep in the mysterious kelp forests of southern California, of the killer abalone. On extremely rare occasions, conditions align with a violation of the abalone code that triggers the rare spawn of the trio of terror in the abalone universe: the red, the black, and their offspring, the pink abalone. So it was during the El Niño of the early 1980s that such an event occurred, much to the detriment of all those involved and for future world peace.

For at that time, in 1985 to be precise, legend has it that a serious violation of the abalone code of honor occurred by SCUBA divers subsequent to the chaos suffered by all marine creatures during the furious El Niño that had ensued. Normally, the placid abalone is content to graze peacefully on the algal gardens of the subtidal zone. But during this time they were deprived for several years of their prized dietary item, the juicy fronds of the brown kelp, and thus they were in no mood to tolerate man’s disrespect.

Thus, I present to you a video from that rare encounter between humans and the killer abalone so that you may learn and honor this amazing creature of the sea. As for the disposition of the human in the video, although he physically survived, let it be known that he was forever changed by his encounter with the killer abalone. Forever after, for better or for worse, his art reflected the deep thoughts and consciousness shared briefly with both the peaceful and killer abalone.

For more about that time period, watch Old Surf Movies: A Day in the life: Laguna Beach & the Wedge, Summer 1985:

Michael Hewes art

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