We’re on The Spit. No, nothing to do with roasting a pig or anything gross exiting your mouth. At the end of the Sterling Highway in Homer, Alaska, there’s a four-mile-long bar of gravel jutting out on Kachemak Bay. It’s called the Homer Spit. We are experiencing the camping at Mariner's Park, one of the three city campgrounds. Actually it is a gravel area without any designated camping spots that works out great. Our timing was good for a spot next to the beach – another water/mountain view. The $15.00 per night is well worth it for the view of the bay and the Aleutian Mountains. (Remember to put your cursor over the photos. There might be more.)
There are all kinds of places to see and things to do in Homer. Such as, tours out into Kachemak Bay to see wildlife at the refuges or to visit Seldovia, or a selection of scenic roads along the skyline over the city. The city is home to many artists, a plethora of charter fishing companies and an array of restaurants offering the fish and seafood fresh from the surrounding waters.
Okay, so we had to choose. In our first couple of days we sampled two fish restaurants, ogled our share of boats and fishermen and soaked up a scenic ride above the city. Captain Pattie’s halibut and scallops were mouth-watering and we had clam chowder to die for….later on that.
Since we are in the “Halibut Capital of the World,” (and just because we’re curious) we hung out for a while watching the fishing boats at the Homer Harbor unload their catch and the charters unload their customers. There are five large cranes that scoop buckets of fish out of the holds and onto the dock. Then they appeared to be spraying the containers of fish with extremely high pressure water, maybe that’s to make dry ice. (Another question to answer.)The fish processing facilities are close by. We checked that out too.
Another somewhat unique Homer sight is the Fishing Hole along The Spit where anyone with a license and a pole can do their thing. While we were there, again just eyeing the activities, one lucky fisherman hooked quite a large salmon. You can maybe see the fish just near the top of the bank, in front of the man with a black jacket and left of the Russian lady in the pink. I couldn’t catch a good photo, obviously. But here’s one of the hopeful fishermen and women waiting patiently for their turn to land one. Patiently? I suppose that’s why I don’t fish.
But, on to another part of our Homer exploring. We chose the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center as our museum-like stop this time. Quite impressive !! The educational displays relate to oceanic wildlife around the world and how they are all intertwined. It’s fun and eerie both inside the realistic habitat room where there are lifelike representations of sea lions and otters in an oceanic atmosphere. There’s a daily schedule of mariner labs and ranger walks. Since we had plans for a late lunch after our trip up Skyline Drive, we didn’t spend a long time getting deeper into these offerings at the Ocean Center. But, decided to catch the movie. This one was among the best we’ve seen at a visitors center. It kept your attention while explaining various facets of the Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuges, about 40 of them on the Aleutian Islands and the shores of Alaska. The information on the work of the biologists who live each summer season on the uninhabited islands was captivating. Did you know that foxes and rats were introduced to the Aleutian Islands about 50 years ago, changing the makeup of the wildlife by causing birds to exit those particular islands? Hunters transported the foxes in for their furs. The rats came in on both hunters’ and military boats during WWII. Soon the native birds were scarce, leaving their original habitat to survive being eaten by these multiplying predators. Now, using the knowledge from research studies, these islands are being restored to the original balance by removing the foxes and rats. Just an interesting bit of Alaska Jeopardy information for you.
As I mentioned earlier, we also chose a scenic drive up East Hill and across Skyline Drive above Homer. The views of Homer surrounded by Kachemak Bay and of the glaciers in the Aleutian Mountains were again outstanding. I won’t try to come up with more adjectives. I’ll add a couple of photos instead:
To the left is the Homer Spit protruding into Kachemak Bay. Ferd is parked about half-way down that skinny piece of land. It’s a little wider and safer than things might appear in this photo. Besides, there are tsunami evacuation signs all along the spit. We wondered: “Which other way could you go? Into the water? :)
Below are two views of the same beautiful glacier from Skyline Drive. Again, they can speak for themselves.
We came down from our drive above Homer and went directly to the furthest point on the spit, Land’s End restaurant. A seat by the window let us glance at the boats entering the harbor and more fishermen trying their luck along this shoreline. Our clam chowder lunch was yummy. Our last stop was at The Pitchin Kitchen where they process and sell right off the boats. Now we have some fresh halibut for tomorrow’s feast. Talk to you later. Stay well and keep smiling.