Two teams of young men are off to Alabama to vie with other college-age men to catch the best and the biggest bass. They qualified at the local and state levels and are driving east in June. They will be representing the SSU Seawolves as the home team in the collegiate national championship finals. They will be dragging their own boat all the way and could use some help with gas and lodging. Their names are: Jake Banuelos and Jacob Davidson the other team is Pete Bizzini and Tyler Owens. Jacob has his own boat, “My grandpa is letting me use his truck to tow us back to Alabama” If you would like to help them you can donate to: www.GoFundMe/CollegiateNationalChampionship or go to Outdoor Pro on Redwood Drive and purchase raffle tickets. The store is donating two excellent Yeti coolers in support of the boys and all proceeds go to the boys. Raffle tickets are a dollar each or ten dollars for twenty tickets, those donating twenty dollars get fifty tickets. If you like, you can just put money in the can and wish them well. The raffle is Sunday so time is short.
Right now there are baby seals everywhere on our coastline. From the beach at Point Reyes National Sea Shore north to Fort Bragg, seal mothers are hauling out on slippery wash rocks to deliver this year’s babies. They nurse them right away and give them swimming lessons within a few hours of birth. Some of the best spots are hard to get to, Bird Rock a mile off shore of Bodega Head is alive with seals. When the wind is right you can hear them barking like crazy, it’s too far away for a close-up look at the babies.
Another great spot is at the mouth of the Russian River at Jenner. Docents will keep all visitors a respectful distance; funny how some people just don’t get it on their own. One of the best places to see them is from the cliff on Highway One about a mile or so north of Jenner. There are some excellent pull- outs that will put you on top of a steep cliff looking down on the colony. Bring field glasses for a close look and a zoom with a tripod if you’re after a photo. The babies swim in the relative calm of the river, they play tag and buzz around under the watchful eye of their mothers. The colony on a nice day can reach over two hundred, a whole lot of blubber cooking in the warm sun.
One of the best spots for watching seals is at MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg. There is good parking and an accessible wooden walkway right out to the wash rocks. Mother seals seem to know the right time to crawl out and have their pups. They are
accustomed to onlookers there so you might get lucky and see one take its first breath, a memorable experience. Fort Bragg is a two- hour drive from Rohnert Park, camping is available at MacKerricher or pick one of the many hotels, motels or B and B’s on the Mendocino coast. If you want to be a bit more adventuresome, drive to Point Arena and walk out to the lighthouse; there you will find wash rocks aplenty and tide pools to explore. There is a KOA at nearby Manchester State Beach if you want to camp. There are a few B and B’s and other lodging options for a stay- over.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.