Adventure Caravans / tours by RV to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies in 2008
Adventure Caravans / tours by RV to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies in 2008
Days 38 - 39 - 40 in Homer, AK
Shortly after leaving the RV park in Seward, we saw these snow covered mountains. I'm not sure how cold it was in the RV park last night but it certainly was below freezing at the top of the mountains.
We were blessed with sunshine today and the scenery along the way was just stunning.
Forrest Taylor took these pictures of a mother moose and her two calves eating beside the highway. We stopped at the Alaska Carousel and Wood Carving Shops to browse their selections.
The gift shop had some amazing carvings on the outside of the building that were integrated into it. Notice the fish on either side of the "Gift Shop" sign; the fish and the sign are carved in one curved log that goes from one side to the other. This is the carousel where the animals are all woodland or sea creatures carved locally.
A wood carver started with a stump and within about 5 minutes had it looking like a bear. We didn't stay to see the finished product.
We started to see Mt. Redoubt about 60 miles from where I took this shot looking across Cook Inlet.
After 160+ miles we arrived in Homer, Alaska; the Halibut fishing capital of the world. The Ocean View RV Park is located at the edge of Kachemak Bay.
These two pictures were taken at the end of the RV park. One on the hill overlooking the bay and one on the black sand beach. By this time the sun had disappeared again and a slight rain was falling.
These two pictures were taken by Rocky McEwan from above Homer. The picture on the left is looking across Kachemak Bay at Grewingk Glacier. On the right is the Homer Spit where the marina and many commercial businesses are located.
Tonight was our big Fish Fry. We were all given one or two salmon filets to prepare as we desired and then cook it on one of the BBQ's. We then shared our filet with everyone. It worked great! What a feast we had.
In the left picture, Bobby is checking on the fish as Ed is looking on with surprise to think that Bobby is doing the cooking.
We also had an abundant selection of most anything you would want to go with the fish bake. Susan and I drove down to the Homer Spit. It is a peninsula that goes out into the bay and has the boat harbor and many small businesses on it. It also allows camping on the beach. After seeing the tents, we were glad we could go back to the relative comfort of out camper.
Day 39 in Homer, AK
Today Susan and I visited the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center. The admission is free. Both Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve have made a commitment to inform and educate the public about the natural treasures in the Refuge and the Reserve through the visitor center and it's interpretive trails.
Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center is primarily a walking experience. We strolled through the inside exhibits and then explored the interpretive trails on the Center's sixty-acre site.
We drove about 15 miles northwest to Anchor Point. We stopped at the furthest west point you can drive in the United States located at Anchor Point State Park. We walked down to the beach to find all these boat trailers parked, but no vehicles to tow them.
We looked to our left to see this strange looking tractor towing a trailer along the beach. It backed into the surf, aligned itself with the oncoming waves and stopped.
Just then a boat started to move toward the tractor and slid up on the trailer. The tractor hauled it out of the water and up to a parking lot where all the tow vehicles were parked. This is a service performed by the state park; for a fee of course.
Our next stop was about 15 miles further north; the town of Ninilchik. It was supposed to contain an old Russian Orthodox church. All we could see were houses that ranged in ages from 100+ and deserted to fairly new and occupied. We decided to drive a little further north and we came upon the road to the church. This is a view of the village of Ninilchik from above.
The old Russian Orthodox Church, built in 1900, and the historic cemetery overlook the entire rustic village of Ninilchik, and peacefully share the brilliant Alaskan sunset skyline with Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna, which are perched across Cook Inlet. Notice the Orthodox crosses in the cemetery.

The Orthodox cross, made up of two horizontal and one diagonal bar crossing a vertical pole, is the symbol of the Russian Orthodox Church. The upper bar represents the sign "INRI," ("Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews") the mocking title bestowed on Christ by the Romans in the New testament account of the crucifixion.

The lower, slanted bar is simply a stylized footrest, a common design in early Christian crosses. Later folklore holds that the lower end points to hell, and the upper to heaven, representing the destinies of the two thieves crucified with Christ. The first thief, repentant, went to heaven, the second, who did not regret his sin, to hell.

While we were traveling, 19 of our traveling companions were heading out to go Halibut fishing. The captain and deck hands baited the lines for the fishermen, hauled in their catch and re-baited their hooks. They didn't even have to get their hands wet.
Loren has one on the line and is straining to pull it up. Charlie Marecle shows off his catch after a successful day of fishing.

The crew gathered all the fish together (all 38) and filleted each fish on the way into port. What a fun day our fisher men and women today. Tomorrow we are looking forward to another fish fry (weather permitting).

I've decided that if we pass a bearded guy gathering animals and building a boat we would head for higher ground. It was still raining today and it doesn't look good for tomorrow either.

As they left the pier, this bald eagle was looking over the boats for any morsel they may have left behind.

Thanks to Charlie Marecle for today's pictures of the fishing party.

Speaking of Eagles, Tom Wentling contributed this beautiful picture of an Eagle just coming in to land on a dead tree stump.
These two gorgeous pictures were contributed by Tom Wentling (left) and Rocky McEwan (right)
Day 40 in Homer, AK
Today, eight of us took a boat ride to see Gull Island and then continue on to Otter Cove Resort for lunch. This is a wooden fishing boat licensed to fish in Alaska and Washington state. It is over 100 years old and is one of several still in service. It originally had sails but is now powered by a diesel engine.
Another sight-seeing boat going to Gull Island. We were all happy we were in an enclosed boat for the trip. Fortunately, they didn't have to row the boat. This is Gull Island from a distance. The white spots on the island are mostly gulls or gull nests.
They seem to occupy every possible rock ledge on the island. Cormorants also nest on the island. There were also red-faced cormorants, but I did not get a decent picture of one.
There were a number of tufted puffins on the island. The toes of their webbed feet have sharp claws that are used to scratch out burrows 3 to 4 feet deep into the steep hillsides of their nesting areas. On Gull Island they nest in the grassy area on the top of the island. They lay only a single, whitish-colored egg. The egg is incubated for 42-47 days while the parents take turns incubating. The off-duty bird goes out to sea to feed. The chick is hatched in July or early August, and for the next 45-55 days until it is fledged, it remains in the burrow while its parents take turns feeding it and standing watch. These are black-legged kittiwakes. A small, cliff-nesting gull, the black-legged kittiwake breeds along northern coasts and winters out at sea. Every nest we saw had one or two chicks in it.
The common murres also nested on the island. It might be easy to mistake this bird for a penguin, with its white belly, dark head and wings, and upright posture. But common murres aren’t even related to penguins. Common murres are pelagic seabirds—they spend eight or nine months of each year continuously at sea. Those short wings are perfect for diving and “flying” under water. These birds can dive down to an incredible 200 feet deep. These are mew gulls. Both common and mew gulls breed colonially near water or in marshes, making a lined nest on the ground or in a small tree; colony size varies from 2 to 320 or even more pairs. Usually three eggs are laid (sometimes just one or two); they hatch after 24-26 days, with the chicks fledging after a further 30-35 days.
After Gull Island we proceeded to Otter Cove Resort to eat at the Rookery Restaurant. No, they didn't have anything on the menu from the rookery we just visited.
This is our crew of eight. Rocky's legs are visible in the lower part of the picture. We had a wonderful three-course lunch from which we all waddled back to the boat. A picture taken above the beach at the resort.
The ramps at the resort and at the marina were pretty slick due to the rain. Fortunately, we all negotiated them without any slippage.
Dave and Sharon Wilson took a boat ride to see Gull Island and to visit Seldovia, AK. It is located across Kachemak Bay from Homer and further south than we were at the Otter Cove Resort. What a beautiful little town and it has fewer than 300 permanent residents.
It also has a Russian Orthodox church and this one was built in 1891. Notice the similarity to the one we saw yesterday in Ninilchik. Of course it makes sense they would have common plans for their early churches.
More pictures of Seldovia. It looks like the tide has gone out. Thanks Dave; great pictures. It looks like a very interesting place to visit.
At 7:30 PM we had our driver's meeting. Phil discussed the routes for the next two days. After the meeting this Beaver on Floats took off from Homer. He is flying over Kachemak bay with Grewingk Glacier in the background.
Day 41 - Kenai, AK

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