The 2008 celebration is all about the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale with their newborn calves from the protected lagoons of western Baja to their ancestral feeding grounds in the cold waters of the Bering Sea. The migrating whales, numbering 18,000 - 23,000 individuals, pass by the Mendocino Coast twice each year: once going south between the months of November and February, and again going north between the months of February and June. Since they don't migrate simultaneously, not all the whales make it all the way to Baja. Some linger off shore and observations suggest that these are primarily the younger males. Newly pregnant females lead the northward migration, followed by males.
The California Gray Whale travels the longest distance on migration of any mammal. This species is the only whale whose year-round habits and whereabouts are well known.
Examinations of the stomachs of whales during the whaling days indicated that gray whales eat very little while migrating and while in calving areas. Thus, many whales may go without food for three to five months.
The animals travel south to the three major breeding and calving lagoons on the west coast of Baja California, Mexico: Laguna Ojo de Libre, San Ignacio Lagoon (also known as Scammon's Lagoon), and Magdalena Bay. Captain Charles Scammon charted many of these areas in the mid-1800s as he hunted gray whales.
The northbound migration begins with immature animals (some of which may not have gone all the way to Mexico), adult males, and females without calves. Breeding sometimes is observed at this time.
Calves usually are rambunctious but stay close to their mothers as they become more coordinated and develop an insulating blubber layer. Calves are at least a month old before they migrate north with their mothers. Mothers and calves are the last to leave the lagoons and move somewhat more slowly.
During the spring migration, if the weather is good, you can see whales within a few hundred yards of coastal headlands.
The full round-trip migration from the Baja calving lagoons to the Bering Sea and back is 10,000 miles (16,000 km), the longest known for any mammal. Other whales also are known to migrate between summer high latitude feeding grounds and more temperate low latitude breeding and calving areas. However, researchers know more about the gray whale because it moves so close to shore. This near-shore movement has led to speculation that gray whales navigate by staying in shallow water or keeping the surf noises to one side or the other depending upon their direction of travel.
March 7 & 8, 2009 On Saturday only, Mendocino County wineries bring their unique vintages for tasting to historic Mendocino Village shops, galleries and inns. A free trolley offers rides to the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse for family activities, participating merchants and nearby events, like the chowder tasting, whale watching walks.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, three miles north of Mendocino, offers activities for the whole family, including games for kids, whale watching, and information on the shipwreck Frolic, 1909 Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and annual gray whale migration. Each year, an estimated 20,000 gray whales migrate from Alaska to Mexico and back from December through April.
On both festival days, you can walk along the cliffs of Mendocino Headlands State Park to see the whales or take a whale watching charter boat from Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg.
MENDOCINO, Calif . — Wine tasting and whale watching will be the featured attractions of the 27th Annual Mendocino Whale Festival March 7th and 8th in Mendocino.
Many wineries will set up tasting stations in inns, galleries and shops throughout Mendocino Village and Little River, while the area's top chefs produce their favorite seafood chowders in a tasting event. A marine mammal art exhibit, plein-air (live outdoor painting demonstrations) and docent-led walks are all part of the two-day festival.
With some 20,000 gray whales migrating north from birthing grounds in Mexico to their winter home in Alaska, there will be plenty of whales to view from the Mendocino Headlands State Park, which surrounds Mendocino Village.
Major events include:
Wine Tasting in Mendocino and Little River's Shops and Inns - Saturday Only. 12-4pm. $30 per person gets you wine, food and entrance to all. Register at Welcome Centers: Crown Hall-Main St, the Ford House-Main St. Event brochures, t-shirts and totes available. 21 & over only
Chowder Tasting in Crown Hall, Saturday from 11am-till the chowder runs out, $10. Crown Hall located at 45285 Ukiah St., Mendocino. T-shirts and totes available during event.
Whale Watching walks on the headlands and Gray Whale Exhibit at the Ford House Visitor's Center, Saturday and Sunday. Call 937-5397 for more information and hours Ford House Visitor Center located on ocean side of Main Street, Mendocino.
Many California State Parks activities at MacKerricher State Park, Point Cabrillo Light Station, and Mendocino Headlands State Park. Click here for press release PDF and
Jughandle Creek Nature Center on-site naturalist will set up guided whale watching walks by reservations and will provide spotting scopes and educational materials. Contact: Helene Chalfin, 964-4630 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lighthouse Activities , Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse exhibits and children's activities on Saturday and Sunday, 9am-4pm Includes tide pool exhibit, lighthouse history, bird walks from Audubon Society, whale watching, and a Marine Mammal Center of Sausalito rescue demonstration. Docents & naturalists on hand. Parking $3 - Click here for press release PDF.
Plein-air Artists in the Village Weather permitting! See local artists painting on the Mendocino Headlands, Saturday
4th Annual Marine Wildlife Exhibit at the Mendocino Art Center, 10-4pm, Little Lake St., Mendocino. Call 937-5818 features nationally and locally honored marine wildlife artists including the late JD Mayhew, designer of Whale Festival logo
Whale Watching Cruises from Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg all day both Saturday and Sunday, call Chamber of Commerce for charter boat referrals, 707-961-6300 between 9-5 on weekdays, 9-3 on Saturday
Whale Watching by Horseback , call Chamber of Commerce for referrals, 707-961-6300 between 9-5 on weekdays, 9-3 on Saturday.
Comedian Stu Stuart is set to perform March 6&7 at 8pm in the Sequoia Room at North Coast Brewing Co. Tickets are $15 each and available at the brewery.
Mendocino Stories and Music Series presents “The Return of Hit and Run”
Hit and Run Theater & Friends will make its first appearances of the 2009 Mendocino Stories & Music Series on Friday & Saturday, March 6 & 7 at 7:30pm at the Hill House in Mendocino. Join local Hit and Runners and musical accompanist Laura Derry in The Return of Hit and Run, for two evenings of improvised fun, games and stories. Doors will open at 6:30PM for bistro menu and full bar.
March 21 & 22, 2009 Regional microbreweries come to town, offering their best pilsners, stouts and ales for tasting at historic Eagle's Hall. Other events include arts & crafts fair, chowder tasting, art exhibits and guided whale walks at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and MacKerricher State Park. While in Fort Bragg, don't forget to plan a whale watching boat tour on the sea with Whale Watching Charter Boats out of Noyo Harbor. Also that weekend, the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse offers great activities for the whole family, including information on the migration of our gentle giants of the Pacific.
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Fish the waters of Northern California for rock cod, ling cod, salmon and albacore. As well, Telstar Charters offers whale watching tours to see California Grey Whales.
Address: . | Fort Bragg, CA
Tel: 1 707 964-8770
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