We drove up a hill on the Sterling Highway, prior to Homer and we gasped at the view of Homer and the Kachemak Bay, and almost forgot to breath. The Kenai Mountain range and the ocean, were spectacular, mind-bogglingly beautiful, and was something that Graham's photographs tried to capture. Awesome! While we were looking out, we saw a couple of whales breaching, almost completely out of the water.
Graham caught a picture of a bald eagle just as we arrived in Homer.
The end-of-the road town of Homer is the “Halibut Fishing Capital of Alaska”. The highway sweeps down the hill, along the bay, and runs out into Homer Spit. Homer has a much slower environment than some of the other towns we have visited, but the scenery is breath taking and makes up for it.
We stopped by the Kasilof River and spotted another fish-wheel. This one is for the department of fish and game. Opposite the fish wheel, they have a sonar that counts all the fish that come up stream. When the fish wheel is active, fish and game catch some of them in the fish wheel, measure them and then releases them. We will be camping by this river for two weeks after we come back up from Homer.
The Homer Spit is a long narrow finger of land that juts out 4.5 miles into the Kachemak Bay. It’s a nightmare of people down here. Especially on weekends. The spit caters to tourists, with the shops up on stilts and a wooded boardwalk that runs in front connecting them.
Homer is at the Lands End or the land ends at Homer.
Graham showed off his dream halibut catch.
Halibut fishing is what you do here. People come to catch the big 320 pound halibut.
Since Homer is the "Halibut capital of the world" we must go Halibut fishing! We book a guide for the next day. Most of the guides are booked up so we didn't know what kind of guide or guide boat we were going to be one.
Graham looks so natural holding his coffee cup while on the boat .
More view of the Kenai Mountains from the boat.
Carin found out that Halibut are great fun to catch, but are very heavy. She was screaming and so excited when she caught one. They say it’s like pulling up a “barn door” and dam they are correct.
She had to have Graham help her. Big baby! Look how much the rod is bent. It's a biggy!
Graham actually caught the biggest Halibut of the day. About 40 pounds. He wouldn't stop smiling.
They are pretty ugly fish. We all did very good that day with everyone catching their limit. Two halibut a day is the limit, with only four total for the year, not very many. These are new regulations enacted last year trying to improve the halibut fishery. You have to keep one halibut under 27 inches, and can throw back as many as you want until you get a big one. (330#?)
I’m actually holding up Graham’s Halibut. It takes a better picture. Mine wasn't as big but almost.
They clean and filet the fish on board. Graham and I ended up with 30 pounds of Halibut meat.
Our captains Willie on the left and Jim on the right. A nice couple guys. Willie was a bit slow and strange but they did a good job. We had another couple on the boat with us.
In the old town of Seward there was a coffee shop that had a cute outside décor.
There was a nice memorial for all the fisherman who have lost their life at sea. There were about 60 names listed on the memorial, so for a small fishing town, that's a lot of people.
We had so much fun fishing for Halibut, we decided to book another trip, but due to availability, had to go with a different boat. It was a disaster and we didn’t do as good. We only caught 12 pounds of halibut meat this time. We went with 2 other couples that had never even fished. The weather wasn't good and one lady got sea sick, so the captain was not willing to go out in the deep water where the big halibut fish were. We were a little pissed off. We weren't impressed with 1 captain on the boat and no deck hand.
Graham caught a nice Cod which we kept.
The next day I wanted to do something other than fish, fish, fish. We booked a 7 hour boat tour around the bay that included a 3 hour stop at Seldovia. Seldovia is a city on the Kenai Peninsula. Its population is 255. It is located along Kachemak Bay southwest of Homer. There is no road system connecting the town to other communities, so all travel to Seldovia is by airplane or boat. Seldovia started as the fishing center for this area before Homer. Homer was later developed with the railway for goods and fish could be transported easier.
Here is a picture of our psychadelic tour boat.
We saw this puffin out in the water.
We saw many islands where the birds migrate every year.
This arch was interesting with all the birds on it.
There were thousands of birds and they were really noisy.
I don't remember the name of these birds but they looked like penguins. They dive into the water to catch fish and have been recorded at depths of 500ft. As a 60ft. diver, 500ft is a lot more pressure, these birds are something special.
There were lots of whales close to shore because the water was very warm that day. Graham was able to catch this whale as it was diving.
A ton of bald eagles everywhere. Graham caught a picture of an eagle with a salmon in it's claws.
One of the small islands we went by was Porters Island. There were a few small cabins scattered around. Some of the islands are used for canoe or kayaking base camps. The water was aqua blue.
This is Mt Reddoubt
Graham was lucky and got a very good close up of this sea otter. They were everywhere but would go under water the minute the boat got close to them. There otters with other otter on their bellies, which were mothers caring for their offspring. We did see one otter surface with a huge king crab, but he submerged too quickly to get a picture.
The first thing we see coming into the Seldovia harbor is their fish welcome sign.
Seldovia has a very small harbor with just a few boats.
The Russians were the first settlers here so naturally they would have their own Russian Orthodox church. This was a very a pretty little church that is still used today.
The town next to the bay is all on stilts. You had to walk around this area on a wooded platform.
The town has become a haven for artists. There were all kinds of different artsy, hippy types of things through the town. I thought these boots on someones porch was cute.
This is the view from one of the bridges. They use the bridges to cross the water on their 4 wheelers to get to the rest of the island
This is were we had lunch. We ate out on the patio that overlooked the harbor. We could look down and see salmon swimming. It was exciting. There are baskets of flowers hanging everywhere. It's a very nice touch.
Graham always looks so natural on a boat, the salty sailor that he is!
I had to take a picture of the boats head (toilet). It was pretty plush. Much nicer than the one on the fishing boats.
Before we left we had to take our picture under the Seldovia town sign.
We had a very nice day on the boat but we can’t leave Homer without taking our last picture of the mountain.
Tomorrow we travel to where the salmon are. Finally!