One of our favorite spots on the North Coast is Mendocino, the quaint artist’s retreat about half way from San Francisco to the Oregon border. Besides spectacular scenery and fun shops, Mendocino also offers a superb number of outdoorsy alternatives (many of which are listed in our North Coast Travel Guide.) But, this time of year, starting in April, you might consider a trip that includes some abalone.
Abalone is, of course, a wonderful shellfish, a real delicacy and a delight to the taste. But it also offers a bit of an adventure to find them and collect them, as you can see in this video clip from Mendocino TV.
If you decide to visit Mendocino and get some abalone, you might find some on the menus of the local restaurants. But if you want to get your own, you can rent gear (although SCUBA equipment is prohibited) from a number of outfitters in the area, including Sub-Surface Progression.
Divers for abalone will need a California fishing license and punch card, which can be purchased at several local drugstores. Abalone is strictly regulated, so be sure you are up to speed on all the regulations. Only red abalone may be harvested, and only those that are seven inches or larger in size can be taken from the ocean. Your catch is limited to three abalone per day, and, in any calendar year, you can only take 24. The season extends to November (but excludes July).
Maybe you want to participate? This year the 18th Annual Abalone Cook-Off & Festival will be held on Saturday, October 6, 2012, in nearby Ft. Bragg. (mendoparks.org/Abalone/)