Bodega Bay

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Bodega Bay
Wpdms usgs photo bodega bay.jpg
Location of Bodega Bay and Bodega Harbor
USA California location map.svg
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Nearest city Bodega Bay, California
Area3,170 acres (1,280 ha)
NRHP reference No. 73000461 [2]
CHISL No.833 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 18, 1973
Designated CHISLNovember 3, 1969
Bodega Bay viewed from Dillon Beach. Bodega Bay viewed from Dillon Beach, CA.jpg
Bodega Bay viewed from Dillon Beach.
Bodega Bay, photographed on July 16th, 2007. Pictures 1239.jpg
Bodega Bay, photographed on July 16th, 2007.

Bodega Bay is a shallow, rocky inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the coast of northern California in the United States. It is approximately 5 mi (8 km) across and is located approximately 40 mi (60 km) northwest of San Francisco and 20 mi (32 km) west of Santa Rosa. The bay straddles the boundary between Sonoma County to the north and Marin County to the south. The bay is a marine habitat used for navigation, recreation (including swimming and surfing, especially by the Dillon Beach area), and commercial and sport fishing (including shellfish harvesting). [3]


Bodega Bay is protected on its north end from the Pacific Ocean by Bodega Head, which shelters the small Bodega Harbor and is separated from the main bay by a jetty. The San Andreas Fault runs parallel to the coastline and bisects Bodega Head, which lies on the Pacific Plate; the town is on the North American Plate. The village of Bodega Bay sits on the east side of Bodega Harbor. The bay connects on its south end to the mouth of Tomales Bay.

Streams flowing into Bodega Bay include the Estero de San Antonio and the Americano Creek. Accessible beaches on Bodega Bay include Doran Regional Park (on the jetty) and Pinnacle Gulch. [4] Apart from the harbor, all of Bodega Bay lies within the boundaries of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.


Coast Miwok Native Americans lived on the shores of Bodega Bay. Documented village names include: Helapattai, Hime-takala, Ho-takala, and Tokau. [5] There is speculation that Bodega Bay may have been Sir Francis Drake's Nova Albion landing location on the California coast.[ citation needed ] [6]

Bodega Bay is named after Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, who explored the area in 1775. Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra.jpg
Bodega Bay is named after Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, who explored the area in 1775.

Present day Bodega Bay was first charted in 1775 by the Spanish Peruvian explorer of the Spanish Navy Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, but the bay that was originally named for him was not present day Bodega, but Tomales Bay. His ship, the Sonora, anchored in the lee of Tomales Point on October 3, 1775, departing the next day. Bodega y Quadra named Tomales Bay Puerto de la Bodega. "There is no evidence in the journal or on the charts that Bodega y Quadra ever saw the entrance to [present day] Bodega Harbor or knew of the lagoon to the north". [7] Bodega y Quadra planned to return, but was not able to. Later, as commandant of the naval base at San Blas, New Spain, Bodega y Quadra sent other expeditions to Bodega Bay with the intention of establishing a colony and mission there. It was decided, however, that the location was not ideal.[ citation needed ]

The first Russians to see Bodega Bay were the supervisors of the Aleut hunting parties aboard the American otter hunting ship Peacock in 1807. Timofei Nikitich Tarakanov [8] of the Russian-American Company returned to Novo Arkhangelsk, Alaska and reported the location to Alexander Andreyevich Baranov, the chief administrator of the RAC. Baranov instructed his assistant Ivan Kuskov to survey the area for a settlement. Kuskov, the Commerce Counselor of the Russian-American Company sailing in the Kodiak, entered Bodega Bay on January 8, 1809. Instructed by Baranov to leave "secret signs" (possession plates), Kuskov buried possession plaques at Trinidad Harbor, Bodega Head (or Tomales Point) and on the north shore of San Francisco Bay, indicating the company's intention to claim this section of northern California for Russia. Temporary buildings were erected to house the ship's complement of 190 crew (130 native Alaskan males, 20 native females, and 40 Russians). [9]

The Kodiak remained in Bodega Bay until October, 1809, returning to Alaska with more than 2,000 otter pelts. [9] Kuskov returned to Novo Arkhangelsk, reporting abundant fur bearing mammals, fish, timber and tillable lands. Baranov instructed Kuskov to return and establish a permanent settlement in the area. In 1811, Kuskov returned, this time aboard the Chirikov but found fewer otter in Bodega Bay (only 1,160 otter skins were taken). Three American ships were also operating in the area from a base in Drake's Bay, sending hunters into San Francisco Bay and the surrounding bays. [9]

Kuskov sailed the Brig Chirikov back to present day Bodega Harbor on March 15, 1812; and as Bodega Anchorage and Bodega Harbor had not been claimed by the Spanish" [7] Kuskov named it in honor of the Russian Minister of Commerce, Count Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantsev. [10]

Russian chart of Fort Ross to Bodega Bay, 1817-18. Bodega Harbor and Bay appear in the upper right. Chart of a section of the coast of Northwest America from Fortress Ross to Point Great Bodega.tif
Russian chart of Fort Ross to Bodega Bay, 1817-18. Bodega Harbor and Bay appear in the upper right.

Zaliv Rumyantsev (Rumyantsev Bay) appears on the earliest Russian charts of Bodega Bay (1817–1819) identifying present day Bodega Bay and Bodega Harbor. Bodega Head was named Mouis Rumyantsev (Point Rumyantsev). Tomales Point was named Point Great Bodega and Tomales Bay Great Bodega Bay, more or less conforming to Bodega y Quadra's original naming.

On his return trip, Kuskov found the otter population clearly scarce in Bodega Bay, and the harbor being frequented by numerous American and English otter-hunting expeditions. After exploring the area, they ended up selecting a place 15 mi (24 km) north that the native Kashaya Pomo people called Mad shui nui or Metini. Metini, the seasonal home of the native Kashaya Pomo people, had a modest anchorage and abundant natural resources and would become the Russian settlement of Fort Ross. [11]

By 1817, sea otters in this area were practically eliminated by international over-hunting. [12] Zaliv Rumyantsev continued to be the main entrepôt for the Russian Colony until January 1842, and the earliest European structures built at Bodega Bay were the wharf, warehouse and barracks of the Russian-American Company.

Bodega Bay remained an active harbor for shipping lumber until the 1870s, when the North Pacific Coast Railroad was built, bypassing the coast in favor of a more inland route. [13]

A plan by Pacific Gas & Electric to build a nuclear power plant received significant negative attention from local citizens, beginning in 1958. By 1964, the plans for the plant were abandoned. [14] [15]

Bodega Bay was the setting for the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds starring Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren and Suzanne Pleshette. [16]

In October, 2017, Bodega Bay, on the northwest edge of Sonoma County, served as a site of refuge and supply depot for evacuees who are escaping from a historic, fast-moving, destructive fire in northern California, especially residents from that area. People from Santa Rosa and other regions affected by the raging wildfire started pouring in not long after the blazes started. [17] [18]

Marine protected areas near Bodega Bay

Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.

See also

Coordinates: 38°16′25″N123°00′22″W / 38.27361°N 123.00611°W / 38.27361; -123.00611 [19]

Related Research Articles

Bodega Bay, California Census-designated place in California, United States

Bodega Bay is a town and census-designated place (CDP) in Sonoma County, California, United States. The population was 1,077 at the 2010 census. The town, located along State Route 1, is on the eastern side of Bodega Harbor, an inlet of Bodega Bay on the Pacific coast.

Coast Miwok Tribe of Native American people

Coast Miwok are an indigenous people that was the second-largest group of Miwok people. Coast Miwok inhabited the general area of modern Marin County and southern Sonoma County in Northern California, from the Golden Gate north to Duncans Point and eastward to Sonoma Creek. Coast Miwok included the Bodega Bay Miwok, from authenticated Miwok villages around Bodega Bay, and the Marin Miwok.

Tomales Bay

Tomales Bay is a long, narrow inlet of the Pacific Ocean in Marin County in northern California in the United States. It is approximately 15 mi (24 km) long and averages nearly 1.0 mi (1.6 km) wide, effectively separating the Point Reyes Peninsula from the mainland of Marin County. It is located approximately 30 mi (48 km) northwest of San Francisco. The bay forms the eastern boundary of Point Reyes National Seashore. Tomales Bay is recognized for protection by the California Bays and Estuaries Policy. On its northern end, it opens out onto Bodega Bay, which shelters it from the direct current of the Pacific. The bay is formed along a submerged portion of the San Andreas Fault.

Bodega Head Promontory in California, United States

Bodega Head is a small promontory on the Pacific coast of northern California in the United States. It is located in Sonoma County at 38.311°N 123.066°W, approximately 40 mi (64 km) northwest of San Francisco and approximately 20 mi (32 km) west of Santa Rosa.

Bodega Harbor

Bodega Harbor is a small, shallow, natural harbor on the Pacific coast of northern California in the United States, approximately 40 mi (64 km) northwest of San Francisco. The harbor is approximately 2 sq mi (5.2 km2) in area.

Fort Ross, California United States historic place

Fort Ross, originally Fortress Ross, is a former Russian establishment on the west coast of North America in what is now Sonoma County, California. It was the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in North America from 1812 to 1841. It has been the subject of archaeological investigation and is a California Historical Landmark, a National Historic Landmark, and on the National Register of Historic Places. It is part of California's Fort Ross State Historic Park.

Russian-American Company State-sponsored chartered company of the Russian Empire

The Russian-American Company Under the High Patronage of His Imperial Majesty was a state-sponsored chartered company formed largely on the basis of the United American Company. Emperor Paul I of Russia chartered the company in the Ukase of 1799. It had the mission of establishing new settlements in Russian America, conducting trade with natives, and carrying out an expanded colonization program.

Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra

Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra was a Spanish Criollo naval officer operating in the Americas. Assigned to the Pacific coast Spanish Naval Department base at San Blas, in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, this navigator explored the Northwest Coast of North America as far north as present day Alaska.

Russian River (California) River in California

The Russian River is a southward-flowing river that drains 1,485 sq mi (3,850 km2) of Sonoma and Mendocino counties in Northern California. With an annual average discharge of approximately 1,600,000 acre feet (2.0 km3), it is the second-largest river flowing through the nine-county Greater San Francisco Bay Area, with a mainstem 110 mi (180 km) long.

Hydrography of the San Francisco Bay Area

The Hydrography of the San Francisco Bay Area is a complex network of watersheds, marshes, rivers, creeks, reservoirs, and bays predominantly draining into the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean.

Stemple Creek

Stemple Creek is a 16 mi (26 km) long, westward-flowing stream in the California counties of Sonoma and Marin, which feeds into the Estero de San Antonio. Its waters ultimately reach Bodega Bay, part of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary on the Pacific Ocean.

Salmon Creek (Sonoma County, California)

Salmon Creek is an 18.3-mile-long (29.5 km) stream in western Sonoma County, California that springs from coastal hills west of the town of Occidental and empties into the Pacific Ocean north of Bodega Head.

Doran Regional Park

Doran Regional Park is a regional park south of Bodega Bay, California, U.S.A. that is maintained by the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department. It covers an area of 127 acres (51 ha). It is located at 38.314°N 123.0428°W on the sand spit separating Bodega Harbor from Bodega Bay. The park address is 201 Doran Beach Road, Bodega Bay, CA.

L. Martin Griffin

L. Martin Griffin, widely known as Marty Griffin, is an American environmentalist and conservationist in Northern California and author of the book Saving the Marin–Sonoma Coast. He has also been a doctor, director of the Sonoma Developmental Center, head of the Marin Audubon Society, board member of the Marin Municipal Water District, and owner of Hop Kiln Winery in Sonoma County.

Rancho Bodega

Rancho Bodega was a 35,487-acre (143.61 km2) Mexican land grant in present day Sonoma County, California given in 1844 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Stephen Smith. Bodega takes its name from the Peruvian explorer Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra who discovered Bodega Bay in 1775. The grant extended along the Pacific coast from the Russian River on the north to Estero Americano on the south, and included the present-day town of Bodega Bay. Only a small part of Bodega is within the grant.

La Princesa was a Spanish frigate or corvette built at the Spanish Navy base at San Blas and launched in 1778. She is sometimes called a frigate and sometimes a corvette. At the time a corvette was similar to a frigate in that both were three-masted, ship-rigged warships, but corvettes were slightly smaller and had a single deck instead of two. The exact specifications of La Princesa are not known. La Princesa was designed with storage enough to sail for a year without having to restock. She was built for durability rather than speed. Like La Favorita, a similar corvette stationed at San Blas, La Princesa was heavily used, serving for over three decades, playing an important role in the exploration of the Pacific Northwest as well as the routine work of provisioning the missions of Alta California. During her 1779 voyage the Princesa carried six four-pounder cannons and four three-pounders, and had a crew complement of 98. The Princesa carried 26 cannons in 1789 when Esteban José Martínez took control of Nootka Sound.

<i>Sutil</i> (ship)

Sutil was a brig-rigged schooner built in 1791 by the Spanish Navy at San Blas, New Spain. It was nearly identical to Mexicana, also built at San Blas in 1791. Both vessels were built for exploring the newly discovered Strait of Georgia, carried out in 1792 under Dionisio Alcalá Galiano, on Sutil, and Cayetano Valdés y Flores, on Mexicana. During this voyage the two Spanish vessels encountered the two British vessels under George Vancouver, HMS Discovery and HMS Chatham, which were also engaged in exploring the Strait of Georgia. The two expeditions cooperated in surveying the complex channels between the Strait of Georgia and Queen Charlotte Strait, in the process proving the insularity of Vancouver Island. After this first voyage Sutil continued to serve the San Blas Naval Department, making various voyages to Alta California and the Pacific Northwest coast.

Before the 1849 California Gold Rush, American, English and Russian fur hunters were drawn to Spanish California in a California Fur Rush, to exploit its enormous fur resources. Before 1825, these Europeans were drawn to the northern and central California coast to harvest prodigious quantities of southern sea otter and fur seals, and then to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta to harvest beaver, river otter, marten, fisher, mink, gray fox, weasel, and harbor seal. It was California's early fur trade, more than any other single factor, that opened up the West, and the San Francisco Bay Area in particular, to world trade.

California Bays and Estuaries Policy Guidelines to prevent water quality degradation

The Water Quality Control Policy for the Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California is published by the California State Water Resources Control Board as guidelines to prevent water quality degradation. The policy is revised as needed.

Lydia was a US merchant ship that sailed on maritime fur trading ventures in the early 1800s. In December 1813 it was sold to the Russian–American Company and renamed Il'mena, also spelled Ilmena and Il'men'. As both Lydia and Il'mena it was involved in notable events. Today it is best known for its role in an 1814 massacre of the Nicoleño natives of San Nicolas Island, which ultimately resulted in one Nicoleño woman, known as Juana Maria, living alone on the island for many years. These events became the basis for Scott O'Dell's 1960 children's novel Island of the Blue Dolphins and the 1964 film adaptation Island of the Blue Dolphins.


  1. 1 2 "Bodega Bay and Harbor". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  2. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. State of California Water Quality Control Plan North Coastal Basin 1B July 1975 p.13
  4. "Sonoma County Regional Parks". Archived from the original on 2008-03-04.
  5. "Access Genealogy: Miwok Indian Tribe".
  6. "Drake Latitudes on the Coast of California in 1579". Archived from the original on 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
  7. 1 2 Clinton R. Edwards, Pacific Historical Review, 1964 vol.33: Wandering Toponyms:Puerto de la Bodega and Bodega Bay
  8. Timofei Nikitich Tarakanov's name has often been misinterpreted as Timofei Osipovich Tarakanov, Timofei Vasilii Tarakanov, or Timofei Vasiliij Tarakanov, but his true patronymic "middle name" was Nikitich, as found in Russian records discovered in 2010. See: Morris, Susan L.; Farris, Glenn J.; Schwartz, Steven J.; Wender, Irina Vladi L.; Dralyuk, Boris (2014). "Murder, Massacre, and Mayhem on the California Coast, 1814-1815: Newly Translated Russian American Company Documents Reveal Company Concern Over Violent Clashes" (PDF). Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology. Malki Museum Press. 34 (1): 81–100. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  9. 1 2 3 Adele Ogden, The California sea otter trade, 1784-1848, pg.58
  10. Hubert Howe Bancroft; Alfred Bates; Ivan Petroff; William Nemos (1887). History of Alaska: 1730-1885. San Francisco, California: A. L. Bancroft & company. p.  482 . Retrieved Jan 10, 2010.
  11. Thompson, R. A. (1896). The Russian Settlement in California Known as Fort Ross, Founded 1812...Abandoned 1841: Why They Came and Why They Left. Santa Rosa, California: Sonoma Democrat Publishing Company. p. 3. ISBN   0-559-89342-6 . Retrieved Jan 9, 2010.
  12. Suzanne Stewart & Adrian Praetzellis (November 2003). Archeological Research Issues for the Point Reyes National Seashore - Golden Gate National Recreation Area (PDF) (Report). Anthropological Studies Center, Sonoma State University. p. 335. Retrieved Jan 10, 2010.
  13. "Salmon Creek Estuary: Study Results and Enhancement Recommendations" (PDF). 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-15. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
  14. Paula Garb. Critical Masses: Opposition to Nuclear Power in California, 1958-1978 (book review) Journal of Political Ecology, Vol 6, 1999.
  15. Office of Technology Assessment. (1984). Public Attitudes Toward Nuclear Power p. 231.
  16. "IMDb: Filming locations for The Birds".
  17. Solnit, Rebecca (22 October 2017). "A Fire-Devastated Northern California Takes Care of Its Own". The New Yorker. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  18. "Death toll rises to 40 as firefighters continue to battle massive California wildfires". Los Angeles Times. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  19. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Bodega Bay