June 29 - July 2
"In Alaska, if you don't go kayaking in the rain, you don't go kayaking!" We learned this early on our trip and it still held true in Seward, our next stop after Homer. We got up early and headed out of Homer back up the Kenai Peninsula and then down again on the other side to reach Seward (where the Alaska Railroad laid its first tracks). We had reserved a beachfront campsite at Miller's Landing for the start of the busy 4th of July weekend and had a water taxi ready to take us out into Resurrection Bay for a few hours of kayaking the next day (of course it rained).
Captain Al helped us load our kayaks into a 24 ft., twin outboard boat. Because the tide was low, we were launched from a boat trailer that was pushed a few hundred yards down to the south beach while we were all on board! We made the short trip to Thumb Cove where there were at least 3 glacier-fed streams and as many beaches to launch from and explore. We circumnavigated the flat waters of the cove and Tom tried fishing again.
Miller's Landing is proud to be "the real Alaska" and has a gathering of characters in the large store and office area. The guide book says the buildings look like they were built from driftwood by beachcombers. We used the van shower rather than the rustic showers they provided. However, this place had the fastest internet connection with picture uploads as fast as a T1 line. Alaska is truly the land of contrasts! After getting back from the kayak trip in the late afternoon, Tom tried to book a fishing charter after he saw the catch brought in, but it was filled up.
The next day we headed out early in the morning to the small boat harbor in town to board the Mariah, a small tour boat with a creative, flexible itinerary. Our boat would take us to the Kenai Fjords National Park which is only accessible by water. Captain Steve and First Mate Josh gave us a general outline of what could be done and asked for our input. It was perfect sunny day and the sea was calm, so we headed out of Resurrection Bay into the Gulf of Alaska. Our ultimate destination was Northwestern Fjord. We saw otters, humpback whales, porpoises, and a large variety of sea birds including Puffins which spend most of their time in the ocean and some of them eat so much they can't fly off the surface of the water. We learned the difference between Stellar sea lions and harbor seals. Harbor seals have small flipper feet, swim well, but can't walk on land at all. The sea lions have larger feet and can move on land as well as in the sea. As we entered Northwestern Fjord, we saw a lot of glaciers. As we ventured further, we saw the extensive expanse of the huge glacier at its terminus. We were able to approach the glacier very closely in our relatively small boat and witnessed numerous calving of the glacier as icebergs fell into the sea.