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Anchorage, Seward and Homer

August 19, 2009      Anchorage is a city of 275,000, so almost half the population of Alaska lives here.  Wandering though the many galleries and unique gift shops, we also learned about the 9.2 earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 1964 which devastated SW Alaska.  Numerous restaurants around, but we opted for Phyllis' Seafood and treated ourselves to king crab--one of the house specialties.  Went south to the Chagach State Park and camped at Bird Creek, so we could see the bore tide.  This is a twice daily phenomenon in the Turnagain Arm basin.  The wide basin empties during low tide and fills again from Anchorage to Portage.  On a particularly good day, like a full moon, the tide comes rushing in.  Our timing to catch the tide was perfect but the time of year was not--interesting but not the exciting experience we were hoping for.

Headed into the Kenai Peninsula.  Glacier covered mountains on both sides of the road and a glacial stream rushing by on our right, created an area that photos just cannot do justice.

Made it down to Seward and stayed at Miller Landing.. This was a funky fish camp on Resurrection Bay.  Hot showers were rumored but glacial showers had somehow taken there place.  Alan had registered for the Silver Salmon Derby.  This is a big deal.  In a town of 3000, they have approx. 6000 participants.  Alan did not catch the biggest salmon, in fact he caught none, but we well be eating black rockfish and ling cod for quite a while, so he did have a good outing.

Upon our arrival for the Kenai Fjords cruise the next day, we were informed that the winds were 25 mph and gusting to 40mph and choppy seas,  We rescheduled and took off for Exit Glacier in the Kenai Fjords Natl. Park.  Went on a ranger narrated hike to the glacier.  Aaron, our ranger, is actually a theatrical major and provided us with an animated and informative tour.  He even introduced us to moose poop--which is somewhat firm and oval until it is touched.  It falls apart easily into a sawdust because of the moose diet and how their bodies process the food, makes a good fire starter we were told. (But can you really depend on finding a good pile of moose poop when you really need it?)

Went out on the fjords cruise the following day.  The trip was enhanced by the appearance of the sun which we had not seen in a number of days.  (This is actually a rainforest area.)  Spotted humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, and tons of sea birds, including puffins and murres (look like a small penguin).  The turning around point for the cruise was the Aialik Glacier.  The boat stopped about 1/4 mile away from the 400 foot face for 20 minutes.  The captain requested silence.  The crunch and crackle of this river of ice could be heard as it moved forward, and finally the thunderous roar as the chunks of ice calve from the face into the bay creating big waves.  Incredible experience. 

Driving around Seward, we were constantly reminded of the vulnerability of this town.  Signs every few blocks direct drivers to the Tsunami evacuation routes.  This little town was destroyed in 1964.  Alan's barber, in town, told us they have rumbles about once a month to remind them of the potential danger.

Took off next for Homer.  The view from the bluff as we approached town was breathtaking.  We landed a campsite at the end of Homer Spit--surrounded by the waters of the Kachemak Bay.  Starkly beautiful.  The following day Alan went out on a 1/2 day halibut charter.  He returned with  13 and 25 pound halibuts (2 is the limit), which yielded out about 18 pounds of fillets.  Halibut party when we get back in town!

The days are starting to get shorter.  We now have sunset around 10:30 and it is dark by 11:00,  have finally been able to stop using the eye masks for sleeping.

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