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Whale WatchingWhale Watching from the Shore
More than 20,000 gray whales swim the Pacific shores during their annual migration. Nearby Bodega Bay offers wonderful opportunities to observe these magnificent creatures.
The best place to see the whale migration in Sonoma County is from Bodega Head in Bodega Bay. Bodega Head, located within Sonoma Coast State Beach, is an outcropping which juts into the ocean. The whales can be observed passing close to the head.
From late November through February, gray whales, 40 - 60 feet long, migrate from the rich feeding fields of the Arctic region south down the California coast.
After a four to seven week stay in the lagoons of coastal Baja, while the birthing takes place, the migration returns going north from late February through April. Mothers and their calves leave last, so they can be seen passing by as late as early May. From Highway 1 take Westshore Road to the end of Westside Road.
Sonoma Coast State Park Headquarters
Point Reyes Lighthouse juts 16 kilometers (10 miles) into the Pacific Ocean. The headlands of the Point Reyes Peninsula offer one of the finest spots to view the gray whale. The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary provides a 32-kilometer (20-mile) wide "highway" along which the whales cruise; sometimes they travel in the close lane (nearer to shore), and sometimes they travel in the far lane (farther out to sea). The areas around Chimney Rock and the Lighthouse offer some of the best whale watching spots in the park. www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/wildlife_viewing_whales.htm
Whale Watching from a Boat
Will's Fishing Adventures holds
three-hour cruises twice a day in search of the largest animal on earth. You
should also watch for schools of playful dolphins and porpoises, acrobatic humpback
whales, orcas, harbor seals, and California sea lions, as well.
Departures are from Porto Bodega in a
Coast Guard-certified vessel.
Oceanic Society: Bodega Bay Whale Watching offers weekly boat trips out of Porto Bodega Harbor Febuary, March and April. The trip duration is 3 hours in a 50-56' Coast Guard certificated, fully insured motor vessels with open observation decks and indoor salon. (415) 474-3385 www.oceanicsociety.org/bodego