Noyo Harbor & Mendocino Gardens

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March 15, 2016  The weather is sunny, which is a change from the torrential rains we had last week.  I am not complaining about the rain, we need it!  But we’re making the most of the clear weather by getting out this week.  We had read good reviews on Sea Pal Cove Restaurant on the harbor and since we’re lovers of fried seafood we headed there first for lunch.  We were not disappointed!  Its a small place with no inside seating but ideal for a sunny afternoon. They have a big deck right on the Noyo River.  Whale watching tour boats and fishing boats pass heading in and out of the harbor.  Like most good hole-in-the-wall restaurants, the menu is limited but what they make they make well.  We both had the prawns & fries, washed down with Scrimshaw Beer, which is made in Ft. Bragg.

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I don’t usually do foody pics, but this food is too good to leave out. Its worth eating in the car on a rainy day.

The harbor is past its heyday.  Most of the fishing boats are charter boats but a few commercial fishing and crabbing boats are still in business.  Sadly the crabbing season has been waylaid this year due to a deadly neurotoxin that’s been found in crabs off the California coast and the pots lay waiting, for a season that won’t open here this year.

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I found this article online from a 1992 newspaper clip in The Las Angeles Times

(http://articles.latimes.com/keyword/fishing-industry-northern-california)

NEWS
March 20, 1992 | RICHARD C. PADDOCK, TIMES STAFF WRITER
These are anxious times for the salmon fishermen of the Mendocino coast. Men and women who have spent decades on the open ocean see their way of life slipping toward extinction. In remote Noyo Harbor, just south of Ft. Bragg, dozens of salmon trollers are for sale. Fishermen who once made a good living catching salmon have turned to odd jobs to make ends meet. Others have taken up new careers, such as selling real estate.

Those were sad times for families in Ft. Bragg.  I read an article in a small local newspaper recently. The highlighted person had moved here in the early 80’s and seemed very smug about the change his relocated generation had brought to this area by eliminating the logging and fishing industries.  I AM glad that our natural resources are being protected, but feel sad for the generations of people who made a life on the sea; jobs that were passed down father to son for many, many years.  I wonder how smug this man would be if he had been the one to sell the fishing boat which had sustained his family and put clothes on their backs and countless meals on the table.  Maybe new generations will find a way to protect the environment, while thoughtfully allowing trees to be harvested and fish to be caught.  No one benefits from throwing the bath water out with the baby, and I for one love to eat local crab and fish.

Noyo Harbor has its ghosts, as these pictures show.

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This was the old ice company, which supplied a much needed commodity for the fish companies.

 

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Still, the harbor has new businesses

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This huge fishing boat is in dry dock for repairs

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The Coast Guard has a station here

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and the slips are full of boats

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After lunch we went to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, which is famous for its rhododendrons, many of which are in bloom in March.

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Its well worth the admission fee.  Plants thrive in this moist, cool climate.

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There are 47 acres of various gardens

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Heather Garden
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Even succulents & cactus grow well here

 

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The paths twist and turn

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There’s tasteful artwork

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This gate is my favorite

and artwork which is a bit more suited to the Northern California lifestyle

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and even a dragon

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The paths continue for 1/2 mile to the Pacific Ocean

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A lucky few live here, overlooking the ocean and the garden bluffs

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The gardens are open all days except major holidays.  Their website is

http://www.gardenbythesea.org/

I know this journal page had too many pictures, but sometimes I love a place so much I have trouble self editing.  I’ve never travelled the world, but its hard to believe that many places can be more beautiful than this.