Thursday, May 26, 2011

Whale Watching at Bodega Bay Head

We found out through a brochure, that we could travel about 35-45 minutes to a point just a little further out to see past the town of Bodega Bay, called Bodega Bay Head. This point, jutting out into the sea, had an observation point on a bluff where you could stand and watching migrating grey whales and their calves swim through the bay....whoopee! Whale watching, and it's FREE!  On the way to the observation point high up on a bluff, we spotted these people digging...for clams? Oysters? Not sure which....I had no idea whatever they were digging for was so deep down!
We saw some cool birds at the water while the tide was out....
And beautiful flowers blooming on the sides of the cliffs...these grow all over the place on rocky shores and have pretty yellow, white and pink blooms, although you can't see the blooms here.

So we went, me, dressed in shorts and a short sleeve tee shirt and a lightwindbreaker, Eldy dressed in about the same, only he usually has on more layers. Layers are good when you are out on a bluff with a stiff wind blowing and sea spray coating everything you own--clothes, camera, and glasses. Our first clue that we were inappropriately dressed for the day's observations was a couple parked in a pair of lawn chairs on the bluff---she had on a snowmobile suit, wool cap and snowsuit hood pulled over her head so you could barely see her face. He had on Carhart's and a hooded sweatshirt and they both were wearing winter gloves and hiking boots. Did I mention that the coast temperatures that day were in the low fifties? The wind chill factor felt like the twenties, the wind was a GALE, or at least seemed like it!...Needless to say, we didn't last that long, but while we were there, for about an hour, the gal saw at least 7 or 8 sightings of grey whales! Either spouts or actual bodies....she was the epitome of excitement when she saw one--really screaming it aloud at each sighting. Sometimes we saw them with her, and some times we didn't. When I did see one with her, I jumped up and down excitedly like a little kid, screamed and yelled and we high-fived each other! Woo-hoo! Shortly thereafter, we decided to come back again the next day, better prepared....and we did!

Here's my better half, Eldo, dressed for whale watching the following day....we saw at least 7 or 8 whales or spouts in a very short period of time, about 20 minutes. The grey whales migrate with their young from January thru May through this spot and along various lookouts off Highway 101 along the coast. Unfortunately, the whales were at a distance, very rapidly surfacing and then diving, and we weren't able to get a photo...the sea spray was fierce again today with the winds blowing VERY hard again for the second day in a row. They were blowing so hard you couldn't stand up without being blown a couple of steps in any direction...It's a rugged outlook, but worth it to see the number of whales going by!

We met a volunteer, Bea Brunn, who has been giving information and manning the observation bluff at Bodega Bay Head for 24 years. She's originally from Norway, and the other park staff have given her the nickname "Whale Mother"....she was a very interesting lady and told me that she has definitely seen the effects of climate change on the number of whales passing through, and their migrating habits. She said a pod of "teenager" whales seems to have given up on the idea of migrating to Alaska and they stay to hang out in this area because of a possible lack of food in the northern latitudes......not sure if that was going to happen this year, but she's noticed that for the last couple of seasons.....

After we got done whale watching and were frozen to the bone, we stopped off at Bodega Bay at a little cafe called Spud Point Crab Company...they had the most delicious chowder I have ever eaten! And you can see, Eldo is one serious chowder eater! He loved it, too!  Tomorrow, the Alcatraz Tour!  See you in prison!......
The man is serious about his chowder!


  1. Take a warm jacket and something to cover your head. It can get pretty cold on the island and part of the tour is a hike up a long hill road. Enjoy the audio tour, it is very interesting.

  2. It's a shame you couldn't get any pictures, but the picture of the ocean is nice. stay safe.

  3. get the audio at alcatraz. It's a must. I know it cost extra, but you'll be blown away.

    A Arizona Holiday

  4. I am really enjoying your blog. . .makes me wish we were heading to California this year.

    Keep up the great stories. . .

    Janice and Dave

  5. yes , this is a great post . thanks for sharing with us .