Thursday morning I set out to explore Big River by canoe alongside Sebastian, my old college roommate (this was his first trip was to the North Coast!). We suited up at Catch-a-Canoe and started paddling.
It’s no secret that Mendocino is full of natural beauty: the water, the trees, the headlands. This was all familiar—I’ve been coming to Mendocino since I learned how to write my name. But as we headed upriver, I saw its beauty in a different light. When we took a break from paddling and sat suspended on the surface, everything was still. We could hear the echoes of the birds in the trees, the subtle movement of the water. It was Sebastian’s first time in the redwoods, and this, to me, was a new Mendocino.
About half an hour into our journey we came upon a family of otters! There were four in total, a mother and her three pups. We followed them as they swam further up, diving underwater and coming up briefly for air. When they had finished playing in the water, they climbed ashore onto a giant log. We waited patiently, observed them for several minutes, and the continued our trek upstream.
Once we’d left our otter friends behind, I was sure that would be it for our animal sightings, though Sebastian was determined to see more. I was happy to be proven wrong when we came across a family of harbor seals, three in all. We chased them upstream and waited quietly for them to resurface. They were full of energy, on the prowl for a morning snack. We didn’t want to invade their space for too long, so after twenty minutes or so, we forged ahead.
Also spotted on our trip: gulls, egrets, and cormorants!
We continued upriver until it was time to turn back, just as the fog began to roll in again.
This article was written by Eden Ohayon