Big River reaches the Pacific just south of the town of Mendocino. A tidal estuary for about seven miles inland, it makes for fine canoeing, especially if you are fortunate with wind and tide. Our adventures here over the years always lead to sightings of creatures that make a living here. Harbor seals have followed us, staring with curious black eyes. Otters play or drift on their backs crunching a shellfish lunch, and heron, normally shy, may pose for a photograph if we drift down on them quietly in our canoe.