Whale Watching from Above

February 1, 2016

Whale watching is something really special.  Each year (December – April) over 20,000 California Grey Whales make their return trip from their southern breeding grounds.  These magnificent creatures are exciting to see, even at a distance.  Unfortunately from where we live it’s a bit of a travel nightmare to get to where they are. To Mendocino, California is a 5+ hour drive.  And traffic can be bad in several places along the way.

With a flying car, we could  drive 15 minutes to our local airport, fly directly to Mendocino ( a 1 hour flight) and then drive right over to check in to our bed and breakfast.  I want to try the Packard House, in Mendocino, which our daughter and son-in-law highly recommended. It’s elegant, colorful, comfy – and they had a cozy fireplace in their bedroom.  The B & B is just a few short blocks from the ocean.

With most of day ahead of us, we could take a trip to Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and Preserve, walk along the beach, have a little lunch in town, go to some art galleries, find where we want to have dinner and drive back to our B & B to relax before dinner. Or we could take a guided kayak tour of the caves, blowholes and rock gardens in Van Damme Cove. There are so many fun things to do there. After dinner we would probably enjoy a relaxed, romantic evening in front of our fireplace.

In the morning, we’re looking forward to a beautiful gourmet breakfast, prepared by a Five Star Chef! Our kids said it was so delicious and filling that they had no interest in eating again for most of the day.  So after breakfast, we would head out for our  whale watching excursion out of Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg, a short drive away. As I recall, the trips start early and last about 3 hours, so we would have plenty of time to enjoy Mendocino in the early afternoon and fly home before dark.

Years ago, after making the ½ day driving trip to Mendocino on a Saturday, our whale watching excursion the next morning was cancelled due to rough ocean conditions. What a disappointment.  We weren’t able to stay another day in hopes we could get out.  With a flying car, if weather permitted, we could have flown along the rocky California Coast, looking for whales on our own.  I can only imagine how exciting that would be!  And to see them from 500 or 1,000 feet above, able to spot them before they breached, would be awesome!

In fact, I think that next time we go whale watching, it will be in a Switchblade. We will go in search of these amazing creatures the traditional way (in a boat) and from the air as well.  It will be the best of both worlds.

-Virginia Hall

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