Date: June 18, 2013
Tonight’s Location: Homer, AK
Weather: brilliant sunshine, almost no wind
Temperature: start 51º
Wildlife count: Sea Otters
Year List: 256
Birds: Song Sparrow, Common Murre, Glaucous-winged Gulls, Bald Eagles, Common Raven, Northwestern Crows, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Tufted Puffin, Pigeon Guillemot, Black-billed Magpie, Steller Jay, Tree Swallows, Violet-green Swallows
This was an absolutely stunning day for a boat ride. The skies were bright blue and there was very little day breeze. We left Homer Harbor on the Discovery around 10:30am, and motored out to Gull Island, where we were last night – all of the birds were chattering. We passed several other islands, viewing birds and beautiful scenery on little secluded island coves, where folks have summer cottages. To stay out of the main Kachemak Bay, we passed through Elred Passage, named for Sadie Elred (Sadie Cove is named for her as well). On one rock we saw Pillow Basalt, created when volcanic magma erupts and cools immediately as it hits the cold seawater. There was also a large section of Radiolarian Chert, made from miniscule Radiolarian plankton which hardened into rock.
When we reached Seldovia, we were starved, as it was after 1pm. We found a small café, where we enjoyed homemade (each batch made separately) chicken salad with craisins and walnuts on a croissant (1/2), along with a cup of chowder. John had potato/cheese, and I had clam chowder. What incredible treats! I also splurged and enjoyed a raspberry Italian soda.
We walked through downtown to the school to find the Otterbahn Trail, a spoof on the Autobahn in Germany. It was a delightful trail, through a huge, ancient spruce forest, leading into a grove of very tall Alder. However, the mosquitoes were huge as well, and since we heard no bird songs, we decided to get out of there quickly. Walking the ½ mile back through town, we stopped at the Visitor’s Center and then went out onto the bridge to look for salmon, but the run had not yet begun.
Seldovia used to be the largest town on the Kenai Peninsula --- until the 1964 earthquake all but destroyed the town. Many of the buildings were loaded onto barges and rebuilt in Homer. We were able to walk on the historic section of boardwalk, but it is only a very few tiny homes and an outdoor florist. It was there that we observed both tulips and geraniums both blooming in the sunshine – about 2 feet apart – and all on June 18! Only in Alaska!
We found a lovely park bench overlooking the harbor and in the sunshine, and with several bars for phone service, had a good visit with John’s mom. What a delightful spot for a day trip. The boat loaded at 4 pm and we arrived home in Homer at 5. With a quick grocery stop, we prepared tacos for dinner and crashed, completely wiped out by walking 4 miles and being outdoors in the sunshine and wind all day – it has been delightful!