Friday, August 15, 2008

Seward 2nd day

Roy and I woke early in the morning (8am). Had a quick breakfast and headed to the camp office. It was drizzling, but the water was totally calm and almost mirror smooth.

Morning view

We met the guide and said that we will leave in 15 minutes. So we sat on the porch and watched the sea, and for several moment had an otter swim just in front of us.

Otter in front of beach

After 20 min wait, we hooked with the guide and boarded a sea-taxi that took us to a nice cove across the bay.

Water-taxi with our guide and kayaks

We boarded the kayaks and the guide took us along the beach. The cove was the outlet of a stream where pink salmon (one of the smaller type) spawned. As such it was a place of abundant food for birds and other animals (although we didn't see bears).


Star fishes (underwater)

There were many eagles nesting in the trees along the water, and at some point we stopped counting them.

Three eagles, one tree

Then we got near the stream and started seeing salmons racing in the water. There were hundreds of fish going by us in the shallow water. Every few minutes we could see a fish jumping out of the water.

We ended the kayak trip landing on a small beach. The guide took us on a small hike inland to see a nice (and wet) waterfall. On the way he showed me how to find blue berries and told me about salmon berries. Tasty!

We ended the trip going back on a nice warm cabin of the water taxi. We got back to the camp main house where Lior and Yael were waiting. We were quite wet and happy. We took warm showers and then prepared for moving on to our next destination.

We left Seward in the afternoon and started our way toward Homer. Both of them sit on fjords on the south of the Kenai Peninsula, but to get from Seward to Homer we went north half-way back toward Anchorange and then turned west toward the shore of the Peninsula. The steep
mountains of the eastern and central Peninsula turn into a plain that gently rolls into the ocean with many rivers and creeks going through it. The western shores are prime salmon fishing territory and the whole area is dedicated to fishing. The ads for different resorts and fishing operations show happy people cradling huge salmons they caught.

Toward evening we arrived at Homer. This town is basically at the end of the highway around the Peninsula. It is halfway up the bay on the east shore. The west side of the bay is steep mountains with glaciers and is a big park, while the east side is much more subdued hills. Homer is special as it has a peculiar geographic structure --- there is a bar of sand going perpendicular to beach and almost halfway into the bay. This bar has several wider "islands" throughout and thus serves as a natural harbor. The whole structure is almost 4 miles long and is known as the "Homer Spit", or just "The Spit". When we arrived the views where grey and it was hard to make the mountains on the other side. We decided to take the guide book recommendation and go to a restaurant at the at the end of the Spit that has impressive views.

We drove out there and realized that the book description of how amazingly ugly the spit is in spite of the wonderful scene around it. The whole place looks like a mix of a commercial harbor (with rusting equipment, storage tanks, etc.) and a rustic old fishing harbor (with boardwalks, lighthouses etc.). The restaurant we headed toward was located in a resort at the tip of the Spit. The resort looked so out of place in terms of the architecture (reminded me of condos in SF). We did have views, but they were not breathtaking, and the food was mediocre at best. It was the final straw in our experiments with Alaskan restaurants.

After dinner we headed to the camp at the Driftwood Inn and RV Park. It was a nice place above a beach in town. It was raining and miserable, so we didn't see much from there. The camp had nice clean showers and a laundry place, so we washed up in hot water and washed all the wet cloths from the morning's kayaking.


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