Yuching was desperately in need of a vacation and had learned about the B Bryan Preserve in Point Arena, California from a friend and wanted to go. So we went! We dropped the dog off for the weekend (dogs are allowed at the preserve, but not anywhere near the animals, so we decided to give him a vacation from us ;)), grabbed a sandwich from the Davey Jones Deli in Sausalito (yum!) and hit the road for a long weekend.
First stop: a beach in Bodega Bay to eat the sandwich. We saw lots of sea gulls and they made us nervous:
The Red-Tailed Hawk did not make us nervous:
Upon our arrival at the preserve, we were shown our cottage. On the way to the cottage, we got our first look at some of the animals. It was quite surreal to be driving along and see zebras and giraffes on the other side of a fence (or, occasionally, not on the other side of any fence!)
The Land Rover used for tours of the preserve. They have tours twice a day and are well worth it if you are in the area. You definitely don’t have to stay at the preserve to go on a tour, but if you stay at the preserve, you get a bit more access.
There were no chickens when we were there. But if you are there at the right time of year, fresh eggs are available for guests.
The next morning, I woke up and went out to take some pictures of the animals while Yuching showered. One of the owners saw me and let me into the giraffe barn to feed the giraffes. You know how you read about how tall NBA players are, but it doesn’t really sink in how REALLY tall they are unless you are standing next to one? Same deal with giraffes. They are huge but very gentle.
Then we headed out for a day of exploring the Point Arena area. First stop: the lighthouse.
We went for the short hike to the gazebo and saw some sea lions looking for breakfast.
Then headed out for a nice hike along the coast.
I named this “Cobra Rock”. I have no idea what its actual name is.
Then we headed to Bowling Ball beach. When we arrived it was high tide, so we couldn’t see the rocks. We were booked for the evening tour of the preserve and had dinner plans that night (at the really good Uneda Eat restaurant in Point Arena (Yuching said she likes it better than Ad Hoc; I wouldn’t go that far)), so couldn’t dilly dally too long. Fortunately the tide was going out and Yuching is patient with me and let me wait for the tide to go out enough to get these shots.
On the tour of the preserve now. The tour takes about 1.5 hours and is definately worthwhile if you are in the area.
This is Elvis. He’s the standard kind of zebra you see at most zoos.
These are Grevy’s Zebras. You can tell them by their big, round ears. These guys were allowed to roam freely and we usually had to wait for them to get off the trail on the way to and from our cottage.
These are Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras. You can tell them because they aren’t Grevy’s zebras 😉
These are Sable antelope (and one of them needs to learn manners and chew with her mouth closed).
These are Kudu. They are very very shy. If you approach their area on foot, you might see them in the distance through the trees and bushes, but don’t count on it. Your best chance to see them is at feeding time during the tour.
This tour ends at the giraffe barn where you get to feed the giraffes. Definitely the highlight of the tour. You can feed them branches (hold tight, they are very strong) and apples. The barn is built so the humans can go up to the second floor and get eye level with the giraffes. I think they said these giraffes are up to 15 feet tall right now, but will probably grow to 18 feet or so.
The next day we walked around the preserve on our own until we met up with the morning tour. Here is Josephine and her daughter roaming between the enclosures.
And more antelope.
For the morning tour, they let the giraffes out of the barn and we fed them over a fence.
Here is one of the owners, Judy.
The giraffes are super rare. They showed a chart of rare and endangered species and they were like the second most rare (or something like that). They have 5 horns; can you count them all?
And lastly, here are a few shots of our cottage in the morning fog before our departure. Frank, the other owner, built the cottages himself using a lot of reclaimed wood, windows, staircases, etc. Very impressive. The boardwalk path that you see leads to our private hot tub!
Overlooking a pond.