THAR SHE BLOWS: Most whale sightings do not involve a majestic breaching nor a blowhole spurting out several gallons of water. Old-timey cartoons have put it in many of our heads that that's what we should expect to see, when what one does see is very much sloping, shiny whale skin briefly appearing through the water. Whales have places to go and places to be, as has been their migratory tradition for several thousand years, and our modern, pop culture-based expectations of what they might do for we landlubbers, in terms of entertainment, need to be reconsidered. The best part of a prospective whale sighting, of course, is what is happening on shore. Parties dot our California coasts come late winter, and many of them make the planet's largest mammal the star. Nice. So if your whale watching trip didn't produce that photo-ready breach you wanted, you've still got food and music and ocean-themed art on land. And you'll have it three times over, come March, in Mendocino County.
FIRST UP: The Mendocino Whale Festival on Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3. Highlights include wine tasting and chowder eating. Sold and sold. Plus the watching for whales, natch. There's are to look at and more Mendo-flavored to-dos. (Mendo flavored=funky, elegant, mysterious, fun.)
SECOND UP: The Little River Whale Festival, which takes place just a smidgen away from Mendo proper, is offering sea cave tours (exclamation points !!!) and the Taste of Little River. Dates are Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10.
THIRD UP: Fort Bragg's Whale Fest is on Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17. More wine and chowder goodness is in the mammal-saluting mix, as is a beer-tasting par-tay. Oh, and a run to work off all the chowder. So more chowder can be consumed. Done.