SATURDAY, JULY 7, 2012 – SEWARD >> HOMER, AK
We checked out of Harborview Inn around 9:15 am and started our 175-mile trip to Homer. We traveled 37 miles back up Seward Highway and turned west on Sterling Highway at Moose Pass driving straight across the Kenai Peninsula, stopping for breakfast around 10:30. In a normal year, we should have been able to see salmon running the Kenai River. No salmon – Darn!
At Soldotna, we turned north and went to Kenai. We looked around the local Saturday market. We saw the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church, built in 1894, and other interesting buildings.
Across Cook Inlet, we saw Mt. ReDoubt, a massive volcano that last erupted in 2009.
We went south, stopping at Ninilchik, a quirky little town where most of the front yards looked like trash dumps to us. There was one adorable stone house among the others as well as a nice looking fire station.
We saw locals clamming on the beach. We watched for a little while. We decided to explore the town and come back later to check out the process a little more closely.
We walked up the hill to another Russian Orthodox Church.
We purchased some great finds at the Frances Rose Trading Company – hand carved dream catchers, and a totem pole. By the time we got back to the beach, the tide had come in, and all of the clammers were gone.
We got back in the car and drove to Anchor Point, the western most site of the U.S. highway system. At the lookout point, we saw Mount Iliamna Volcano and three other volcanoes that are part of the “Rim of Fire” in the Aleutian Mountains.
The fog rolled in and we rolled on – into Homer, and onto the spit.
The road seemed to go on forever. Surrounded by the ocean on both sides, the spit is lined with shops, restaurants, fishing charter businesses, and spruce trees buried upside down in the sand so eagles can land on the roots.
We drove to the “end of the road.” Our hotel, Lands End, was at the very tip of the 5-mile long spit.
After checking in to our room with a private patio overlooking the Kachemak Bay, we called a couple of Halibut Charter outfits and booked a saltwater fishing trip for the next morning with Bob’s Trophy Charters. We got back into the car and drove to Bob’s to get our fishing license and our $10 derby tickets. We were all set to get on NautiLady – at 6:45 am the next morning.
We learned that there is a limit of two halibut per person. Once we make a decision to keep a halibut, we can’t release that one later if we catch a larger one. Before leaving, we checked out the photos of several halibut greater than 200 pounds and longer than 6 feet that had been caught on earlier trips. T.J. made a plan that for the first hour, he wouldn’t keep any halibut under 200 pounds. In the second hour, he would keep a halibut only if it was over 150 pounds. In the third hour, he would keep a halibut over 100 pounds. In the last hour, he’d keep any size halibut. Sounds like a good plan!
We went into many of the shops along the spit. I bought way too much. We talked to Linda Thompson, the owner of the Brown Bear gift shop and mother of Artist ErikBehnke, who has Downs Syndrome and autism. Erik designed the art for the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter games poster. His art is currently sold all over the world.
We walked into the Salty Dawg Saloon. I loved it – the walls, ceiling, everything was covered in $1 bills. T.J. hated it – I think he felt claustrophobic.
We left and went across the street to Boardwalk Fish & Chips. I had my first salmon meal of the whole trip – in the halibut capital of the world. It was very good. Then, we went and picked up a few groceries for breakfast and a snack for the next day.