July 16, 2008


We arrived this afternoon in Homer Alaska, yep, way, way down the Kenai Peninsula.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have visited Talkeetna, the Nancy Lakes area, spent a few days in Anchorage and fished the Russian & Kasilof Rivers (without much success). The "second run" of Sockeye salmon is not yet started so we are waiting things out down here.

The drive down was nice, stopping along the Inlet for many beautiful samples of this wild country. One stunning sight was Mount Iliamna standing proudly out there across the Inlet. At near 11,000ft above sea level, it dwarfs nearby peaks & mountains. The volcano is still active, but has not erupted since 1996. http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF13/1300.html
Reaching Anchor Point (about 5 miles north of Homer), the pullover there greets us with our first view of Kachemak Bay & Homer (not quite visible here in the distance to the left) and the "Spit" (a long narrow peninsula off the west end of Homer in the left center below), well known for it's fishing charters in the area. http://www.akms.com/spit.html
Reaching the edge of town, we stop at a municial sewer station, and unbelievably as we are draining, a couple of Sandhill Cranes walk across the dump area within fifty feet of us!

Moments later we realize that we are justa football field away from the local Homer Nature Center & Refuge, and get anothe fabulous view of the inner bay, just north of Beluga Lake, where we will base.

Down the road a bit, and a turn to the right and we find crystal Beluga Lake lay before us.
Our good friend Steve J back in Louisiana was kind enough to allow us to park our trailer at a location on the Lake. Looking a bit closer, we spot the neighbors green & white Beaver (the Lake is the local seaplane landing strip), which would put Steve's place just to the left.

As promised, we find the quaint fishing camp that Steve & friends base tours & trips from and settle in.

Even though darkness was approaching (yes, in contrast to Fairbanks, it does get dark at night this far south!), we were anxious to "cruise" the Spit, so off we went! Just past midway, we discover "the Fishin' Hole", a man-made football sized excavation that is "seeded" every year with fingerling King & Silver Salmon. Roughly three years later, the adults return to spawn, only to find themselves at the mercy of the hundreds of fishermen that line it's banks. (not quite, turns out the fish don't bite very well when they are ready to spawn...)

Looking down from the Hole, we get a scenic view of the Homer Harbor, home of the many commercial & private boats that serve the area......

A few minutes more and we are at the end of the road (and the Spit) where there is a large fish processing plant and we find numerous gulls and seabirds. We quickly confirm the Glaucous Wing Gull, another lifer!

Kim is intrigued by how close the large boats run to the shoreline here, stirring up the gulls, while I'm entertained by the unique carvings on the Land's End just across and to our right.

The following day I'm surprised by a "traffic jam" at the corner of Beluga Lake. Pulling over I find the source of the excitement...a bald eagle about fifteen feet in front of us apparently gather nesting materials in the form of grass.

After shooting a few stills, the cooperative subject allowed me to get some nice video at very close range. You might enjoy this short clip posted on YouTube... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBjsIpDAr-4

Those of you who are perceptive have probably noticed that not all the pix above were taken in glowing sunshine. Quite the contrary, we have struggled here on the Peninsula to find a few bright days. The coastal suroundings are prone to overcast, foggy and raining conditions much of the time. So, I guess the downside of this part of Alaska is the unpredictable weather. As you see above, when it's nice it's gorgeous! The scenery is spectacular, and one finds this to be one of the most enjoyable spots on earth. But, to be fair, here's a few shots that document the conditions that we've been in here for more than half the time....

The locals are not deterred, as shown in this early morning photo of horseback riders at low tide along the north shore of the Spit in light rain & fog!