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Archive of our Alaska Trip -

Homer and Gustavus 

We arrived in Alaska on June 17th.  As of July 12th, here's where we've been:

 

Homer Spit

 

This is not a poor joke about the guy who wrote the Iliad...  It is a fishing/tourist town on the western side of the Kenai Peninsula with a gorgeous view of some of the mountains.  We spent two peaceful days there, and yes we ran into our flying buddies, Bonnie, Phil and Rebecca, and of course Kodiak and Tiska.  (Hi you all!)

 

 

 

The people on the spit are all just a little bit nutty.  One of the things they do is take driftwood trees, and plant them upside down, so they look a little like palm trees.  It gives the Spit a Florida kind of feel!  The kids thought they would do the same.  And boy was that Halibut good! 

 

 

Gustavus

 

Ah, Gustavus - it must be time for some kayaking.  First we needed the whole get-up. 

Anika modeling our very attractive gear

 

We spent 3 days and two nights on Chichagof Island, which is just across the Icy Straits form Gustavus.  The Island is beautiful, with most wild life.  The sleeping was good - even according to Yannis!  The nice soft bed of needles and moss made the thermarests feel like Sealy Posturpedics!  Plus we are now far enough south that is gets dark - and I don't mean just dim.  At 11:30 p.m. is it practically black outside!  So here is our home, actually, this is the kids' room.

Camp site on Chichagof Island

 

 

And of course we traded in our plane for these! 

Kayaks parked for lunch

 

 

On our first day out we had a couple close encounters with wild life.  First, this harbor seal swam over and joined us for lunch.  Well, actually, he just watched.  In fact, he stuck his pose on this rock at low tide, and even in the face of a rapidly rising tide, with his rock completely submerged, he refused to move, but remained frozen, statue-like, as if to say, "take your time with that picture, perhaps you'd like to paint me?"

 

Harbor seal

 

 

Then as we paddled back to our campsite, we encountered this guy:

Humpback whale, waving!

 

 

Yannis has a nice lens, but this guy was really close!  We'd been seeing humpback whales performing for the whaling cruise ships for some time, but were completely caught off guard when this humpback decided to saddle up next to us - just 35 yards away.  We sat quietly as he swam by.

Tasha worriedly watching the humpback.  You can see the humps and the blow hole on just the other side of the kayak.

 

The next day we also saw orca whale off the point where we were staying.  (Apparently it is rare to see orca, but we saw them 3 days running, so they must have all been in town for a party or something.)  Anika identified these guys right away, much to the surprise of our guide.  They were on her wish list to see.

Orca

 

 

And we saw several sea otters.  These guys are big - much bigger than you might think from this photo - and cute as a button!  (Imagine Anika doing a back float - that's about the size of this Otter).

Sea otter in classic pose

 

We enjoyed the rainforest and the water immensely.   But, after three days we returned to civilization.  (Though the kids don't miss the devil's club too much.)

"Old Growth" Rain forest.  (The glacier receded about 200 years ago and there are some "newer growth" forests in the area, but we stayed in one of the really old, and magical, "old growth" ones.)

 

 

Once we returned to Gustavus, we went on a boat tour of Glacier Bay National Park.  We cruised all the way up to the face of several glaciers.  We also so black bear and moose and birds and birds and more birds - such as puffins.  These are the funniest little birds - well, here, see what you think.

Tufted Puffin

Looking for a head wind

Ah, success

 

There were also sea lions.  There must of been over a hundred on one little rock.  Here are just a few - we think they're serenading us :-)

Stellar Sea Lions

 

 

And of course more whales.  Both orcas and humpbacks...

Humpback whale "blow holes"

 

Next stop -  Cordova and Juneau

 

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