Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Alaskan Idyll, Days 23-28 Kenai Peninsula

On Friday July 11th we left Anchorage and departed for Seward. The ride along Turnagain Arm is as spectacular as we remembered from past visits. We drove through an alpine terrain of glaciers and lakes. We were even greeted by a family of Dall sheep on the rocks above the highway. Unfortunately, we also were greeted with cloudy, hazy weather, so the photo opportunities were not the best. Once again, we will resort to incorporation of some of our summer 2005 photos to best showcase the spectacular scenery.

2005 Photo of Turnagain Arm

Dall Sheep Seen Along the North Side of Turnagain Arm

We have been to Seward a couple of times before and have thoroughly enjoyed the many tourist activities that Seward has to offer, so this trip we spent our time wandering along the waterfront and simply enjoying the atmosphere of this bustling fishing port. We were only there two days and could have easily stayed another week camped in the waterfront park.

Seward Harbor, as Seen from Our Waterfront Campground

During our leisurely stroll along the Seward small boat harbor, we saw several interesting sights. A sea lion was hanging about the fish cleaning station, looking for handouts. Accompanying the sea lion was a bevy of seagulls, looking for same.


Assistant Scrounger

While strolling, we stopped to photograph a chainsaw bear, and were approached by a nice lady who took our picture with the boat harbor as background.

Seward Waterfront Sculpture

Beauty and the Beast in Seward

At the entrance to each dock, there was a rack of child life preservers, available for loan to any child venturing onto the docks. We thought this was a splendid idea, and would encourage universal adoption at all docks and marinas.

A Wonderful Idea

Of course, the waterfront abounded with opportunities for retail therapy. While Kathy was shopping, Keith became fascinated with the metallurgy of the old anchor on display in front of the shops. Note the laminated structure in the flukes.

Laminated Structure Seen in Flukes of Antique Anchor

On Sunday July 13th we drove from Seward to Homer. About 30 miles north of Seward the road branches west toward the Cook inlet. Along the way we saw a few people fishing in the Russian River, but not nearly so many as in past seasons. As noted previously, the Salmon are running late this year. Past Soldontna, the road turns south along the eastern shore of Cook Inlet. On a clear day, the various volcanic peaks alont the western shore of the inlet can be seen clearly from the many turnouts. Unfortunately, it was not a clear day, so we again substitute pictures taken on a prior trip.

Volcanic Peaks Across Cook Inlet from the Kenai Peninsula (2005 photo)

Also found along the road to Homer is the beautiful little fishing village of Ninilchik. There is a beachfront campground in Ninilchik, as well as an interesting Russian Orthodox church.

2005 Photo of Ninilchik

South of Ninilchik is Anchor Point, site of North Americas most westerly highway point. And, they have a sign to prove it. Once again, the blue sky is compliments of our 2005 photo collection.

North America’s Most Westerly Highway Point

Just north of Homer is an overlook with an excellent view of the Homer Spit. The Spit is a gravel bar that stretches about halfway across Kachemak Bay. We surmise it to be a glacial moraine, but we’re not sure of this.

Welcome to Homer!

Homer Spit

Our campground was located on the spit, with waterfront campsites facing the bay. The going rate for these sites is $70/night. As with many other of the campgrounds we have visited this summer, the campground was about half empty. We are wondering if the price of gas could have anything to do with this?

Our Waterfront Campground

The evening of our arrival we enjoyed a very nice meal of halibut and prime rib at Land’s End restaurant, on the end of the Spit (3.5COWS).

As with Seward, we were only scheduled here for two days in Homer, but this time it was filled with a new experience for Kathy-deep sea fishing. Homer is the Halibut fishing capital of the world and 9 members of our tour group (Kathy included) went out on a deep-sea halibut-fishing trip with Rainbow Charters on the 55-foot ship “Jackpot”. It was a wonderful experience We left at 5:30 am and returned at noon. Every member of our party caught the daily limit, which was 2 fish. Kathy’s 2 halibut weighed 12-15 pounds each. The largest fish caught that day was over 40 pounds.

A Day’s Catch

That evening we had a huge potluck roast of grilled halibut (courtesy of the fishers) and an assortment of other delicious dishes (courtesy of non-fishers) for our entire group.
We all had a wonderful time. We didn’t bring our camera to the roast, so are indebited to our friend Joe for the following photograph.

Halibut Roast

On Tuesday, July 16th we headed north for our last stop on the Kenai Peninsula, the town of Kenai. Kenai was established by Russian fur traders in 1791 and is one of the oldest permanent settlements in Alaska. For our 1 night stay we were camped at Beluga Lookout RV Park, which is located on a bluff overlooking the Cook Inlet and Kenai River. It gets its name from that fact that beluga whales can be seen from the bluff. We did not see any whales, but we did see many Alaska State residents dip netting for their quota of Salmon in the Kenai River.

Fisherman Line the Banks of the Kenai River
Dip Netting for Salmon

Fishermen Carrying Their Equipment to the Water

That evening we were treated to a very disappointing buffet dinner of lasagna and salad at Paradisos Restaurant (2 COWS). The quantity and quality of the food was very marginal.

On Wednesday, Day 28, we drove from Kenai back around Turnagain Arm and through Anchorage to the town of Palmer, in the Matanuska Valley. Along the way we were treated to more spectacular views of Kenai Lake, and of the snowcapped Kenai Mountains. We conclude this post with a decorative sculpture seen on a bridge abutment in Anchorage.

Kenai Lake

Kenai Mountains

Anchorage Bridge Sculpture


George & Rosemarie said...

Enjoying your BLOG, as we were also in Alaska around the same time and camped at Kenai and Palmer the same time your caravan was there. We had a lot of rain too, our first and only trip to Alaska.
R. Bull

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