Noyo Pacific Kayaking

A Resources for Beginers to Experts

Noyo Harbor
Places to Kayak - California

One of the most popular backroads in Northern California is Highway 1. As it twists northward along the coast, it skirts the village of Mendocino, where most of us like to spend time in its sophisticated shops and art galleries, eat in its fine restaurants and stay in one of its many lodges. But just up the road, beneath a towering bridge and along a river that tends to hide from our view, is another village few of us have ever visited.

 Noyo Harbor  Noyo Harbor Kayak  Noyo Harbor Boat
Noyo Harbor is one of my favorite spots along the Mendocino Coast because it's so real. It welcomes tourists, but it's not here because of tourism. It's a fishing port and has been one for well over one hundred years.

Noyo Harbor is about three and a half hours north of San Francisco. There are several ways to get there. Perhaps the quickest route follows Highway 101 to Cloverdale, Highway 128 to the coast and Highway 1 ten miles past Mendocino to Noyo.

Noyo doesn't dress up for us visitors; everyday relationships carry on whether we're here or not. Noyo is what it's always been: a picturesque but hard-working harbor sustained by creatures from the deep.

Ernest Figueiredo, who was born in Portugal, has been fishing out of Noyo Harbor for more than 40 years. "It's a free life," he says. "You do what you want, go in when you want, go out when you want. I mean, you're feels good."

Fisherman and their boats have come and gone from Noyo since the 1850s. Ernest always keeps a watchful eye on the reef and the ever-changing seas. He's also seen Noyo change quite a bit over the years.

Ernest remembers when the Noyo river-way  had as much traffic as the highway: "You would have this river so full of boats...from everywhere that you could almost cross the river on top of boats. You know, they'd be packed."

In recent years, some fish populations have declined. Government regulations have dramatically shortened fishing seasons and reduced catches. Many fisherman have been forced out of business.

Despite the declines, local history buff John Skinner says the heart and soul of Noyo hasn't changed: "It's been a working harbor, it remains a working harbor, and if you come down here on any given day, the boats are running back and forth, people are doing repairs, and everything that was here in the beginning since the 1850's is still here."

Fishing is down but not out. Boats still chug up and down the river and in and out the harbor to far-flung fishing grounds on the high seas. And fish are still unloaded along the piers.

Strolling around Noyo is easy. The harbor is as snug as it's always been, the neighbors are as noisy as ever, the smells of the salt and the sea are still carried by clean breezes, and the weather still broods and brightens on the comings and goings of boats.

The views at Noyo have attracted moviemakers over the years. Jonathan Winters and Brian Keith went fishing here during the filming of "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming." And it was here that Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell reportedly fell in love during the filming of the movie "Overboard."

You may or may not find romance, but you can find food at Noyo. The Wharf Restaurant features seafood and some say you can find the best clam chowder in town at Capn' Flints. Food from the surf and the turf is available at Carrine's Fish Grotto, where Mama Carrine and her family serve perhaps the biggest burger in the world.

If you want to stay as close to the harbor as possible, the Historic Lodge at Noyo River offers comfortable rooms with good views. Rates range from $99 to $149 per night. The Harbor Lite Lodge has spacious rooms at more moderate rates overlooking Noyo and has spacious rooms. Prices range from $45 to $96 per night. For more information about Noyo Harbor, call the Fort Bragg, Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce at (707) 961-6300