Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monday, July 2: Sunny and cool. Up early to breakfast, pack up and make a lunch. The lake looks like a mirror; should be a good day for the boat trip to Gull Island-- then we’ll head to Kenai for a night. The mountains seem so close as we head down to the harbor on the Spit. Ron gets a little nervous when there’s no yellow-hulled boot at Ramp #3, but as soon as he leaves to check the cell phone in the car, the Torega noses in to the pier. We take a picture of a huge seastar on one of the underwater cables, then head out past the breakwater into the ocean. Captain Karl takes us to what’s called Sixty-foot Rock; there are lots of sea otters there floating on their backs with their babies on their bellies; they wrap themselves in the kelp to keep from floating away with the strong currents. We see big glaucous gulls and herring gulls, and the smaller, but similar kittywakes. As we head for Cohn Island, one of over thirty owned by the same settler, we see a raft of sea otters and rafts of murre gulls. The murres make a murmuring sound; they look mostly black, but actually it’s dark brown. When they take off they fly in a line most evenly spaced! Cormorants are mixed in with the gulls in most spots, and we even see some with the reddish-orange face!; and on one rock we see an eagle among the gulls, with a zone of nothing around him—wonder why?! Captain Karl also points out merlets, surf birds and a gilmont. We see a salmon boat fishing the beach just off the mouth of the Wosnesenki River, which drains six glaciers; it’s fresh, silty water floats on top of the seawater for miles; I didn’t realize the salmon follow the shoreline. But it’s when we get to Gull Island that we really hit the jackpot--harlequin ducks, one even in his full colorful plumage (most are molting now) and what we have been searching for—puffins! The boat is rocking so it’s hard to get a good picture, but we’ll see! Captain Karl says it’s time to go back; the wind has come up and what was swells before is now white caps. What a great trip! It was so good to be on the sea again! We stop back at Captain Patty’s for a bowl of hot, razor clam chowder then pick up a couple chunks of fresh salmon for supper and head up to Kenai. One last picture of the Homer Spit and beautiful Katchemak Bay with the mountains all round, and it’s follow the boggy, flats up the Sterling Highway. We are rewarded with a great moose sighting, then it isn’t long before we pull into Buckland B&B, a cabin in the forest along the Kenai River. (Did I tell you we met the guy who runs it when we were in Kenai getting groceries on the way to Homer? He was ahead of us in line and we got to talking; he said he had a B&B on the river and I told him we were looking for a place for the night of July 2. He gave me his card and here we are!) After we unpack, Ron and John go down to do a little fishing (a few bites, but no fish) and I start some raw fried potatoes and prepare the salmon for the oven. John does his in crackers, then foil; I do mine with mayo, onions and lemon in foil—the great salmon cook-off! A great meal, then we retire to watch The Crew (Richard Dreyfus and Burt Reynolds) and z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z.

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