Today, Saturday, March 16 was a big day at the Fort Bragg Whale Festival, but if you missed the wine, beer, and chowder tastings or the whale run, don’t fret. Tomorrow is another day, as they say.
Grab a windbreaker ( a good idea to layer up around the ocean) and binoculars and head to three of our favorite whale watching spots: MacKerricher State Park (Laguna Point), Point Cabrillo Light Station and the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.
All three will have docents. At Point Cabrillo, they usually have binoculars they will share if you don’t have them.
MacKerricher State Park: (located three miles north of Fort Bragg on Highway 1) offers free, day-use. For additional information call (707)961-0471.
An ideal location for watching migrating whales, MacKerricher provides a wheelchair accessible boardwalk, allowing an easy traverse across the headlands to a deck situated on Laguna Point near the whale route. Docents will present public whale talks on the dates below, and will provide binoculars and a spotting scope to help visitors study whales and other fascinating marine and bird wildlife near MacKerricher’s shores. A rare, reconstructed Gray Whale Skeleton is on permanent display near the visitor center and entry kiosk. The skeleton is a composite of two whales that beached on the Mendocino Coast, two years apart. Humpback Whale bones are also on display giving a visual size perspective between the grays and humpbacks.
Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17: 11 a.m.
Whale Walks –Docents present an informative overview of gray whales. The talk/walk starts at the MacKerricher Visitor Center and then proceeds to the whale skeleton before driving to Laguna Point for whale watching.
Sunday, March 17, 1:00 p.m. to 3p.m.
Help us paint the whale skeletons at MacKerricher State Park.
The supports for the whale skeletons need to be painted to help protect them. Paint and some brushes will be provided. Bring paint brushes and wear old clothes. Rain or fog will cancel painting the whale skeleton.
Point Cabrillo Light Station
Just a few times each year, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers tours of Point Cabrillo Lighthouse lantern room. You’ll get a history lesson, a close-up view of the 1909 Fresnel Lens and be treated to wonderful views of the coast from nearly 90 feet above sea level. This is the best place on the coast to view whales. It is a fundraiser for the Auxiliary so there is a small donation of $5. For more information about Light Station activities, including things for kids to do, click here.