Wednesday 29 February 2012: Anchors away!
In my ignorance I used to think these were seaweed roots dotting the beach. But I know better now. They are called holdfasts and unlike roots, not necessary for feeding the plant, but simply to anchor it on the seabed, or in this case, to a pebble. The 'fingers' are called haptera, and have to be tough to secure the seaweed in the worst storm. Even though this pebble must have been tossed and thrown around till I found it way up the beach, the seaweed clings to it. Pity it didn't choose something more suitable and stay safely anchored in its environment.
Happy Leap Day!