Every year, over 20,000 California Gray Whales make their way south from Alaska and the Bering Sea down to their breeding grounds in Baja California. After a brief respite in Baja where the babies are born, the whales return back to their northern territory. The Mendocino Coast provides excellent opportunities to see the whales without all the crowds around, starting at the end of December and continuing into April. If you have ever been to Point Reyes when the whales are going by, it’s hard to park anywhere near the ocean because of all the watchers. That’s not a problem up here!
We’ve seen the first whales already, and we’re starting a new feature from Captain Tim at All Aboard Adventures: the whalewatching report.
There are 3 ways to see the whales: watching from the shore, going out on a whalewatching excursion from Noyo Harbor, or going on a plane flight. Some great places to see whales from the shore are: Mendocino Headlands; Chapman Point / Spring Ranch; Point Cabrillo; Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens; Noyo Bluffs; MacKerricher State Park.
The other way to see the whales is to go out on a boat. You’ll find a number of excursion boats that will get you up close and personal (not really — they are required to keep a decent distance from the whales). But you are incredibly close, and you’ll take pictures that amaze everybody else afterwards! Some of the excursion boats are: All Aboard Adventures; Adventures Unlimited; Noyo Fishing Center (Rumblefish and Tigerfish); Lady Irma II; Telstar Charters; Fort Bragg Sportfishing.
The third way to see the whales is to go for a flight with Coast Flyers, who fly out of the Little River Airport.
If you want to know more about the whales, MacKerricher State Park Visitor Center has a Gray Whale & Marine Mammal Program. MacKerricher Docents lead interesting talks and watches about Gray Whales and marine mammals on Saturday and Sunday mornings, January through March. Meet at the MacKerricher Visitor Center, then after a brief program, caravan to Laguna Point deck to watch for whales and other sea life through spotting scopes and binoculars. Call 707-964-8898 for the schedule.
Check out this page for more information about whales, including contact info for the businesses that will take you out on whalewatching excursions.
Whalewatching Report from Captain Tim, All Aboard Adventures
December 14, 2007
We spotted a pod of four whales heading for their winter home while fishing for crabs about a mile off MacKerricher State Park between Pudding Creek and Cleone. Weather was cool and sunny.
All Aboard offers public crab fishing adventures: trips accommodate up to 20 people, but will go out with as few as four. $75/person. Whale Watching for up to two hours for $35/person.