Thursday, August 18, 2016

At Homer part 2. In and around the Homer area June 23-July 4, 2016

At Homer part 2. In and around the Homer area June 23-July 4, 2016. 

We spent an enjoyable 2 weeks in Homer. We had a mostly quiet spot at Mariner park with a great view of Cook Inlet out our side & front windows and/or our front yard.

Moon setting with the sunrise shining on the mountains

I can't say we did much exciting in our two weeks here. I covered the main event, the trip to Seldovia, in the last entry.

We don't travel as though we are on vacation. We travel to go places and see things at our pace. No reservations requiring us to be somewhere on a particular date or time. We move and go when we feel we have seen what we want in an area. We partly staying in Homer for 2 weeks to get though the 4th of July weekend. We got here early to be sure we had a scenic & comfortable spot to be for the 4th of July weekend. Which we do.

During our 2 weeks here We mostly took a few short driving trips, ate lunch a few times in town, visited the museums and visitor centers here. More on that later.

On the road leading to Homer Spit there is a sign pointing to fresh salmon for sale, 3.4 miles along Kachemak Dr.

We drove there just to see what they had for sale. It turns out they have salmon for sale on Tuesdays & Fridays. The commercial fishermen are allowed to fish on Mondays & Thursdays. They pack their catch on ice and some of the catch is brought to a warehouse store for sale.

Our first week here we bought a whole, head on, 6.5 pounds Chum salmon for $2 a pound. We had to filet it ourselves. We pan broiled a couple of pieces, very tasty. Sharon also made a dill sauce to put on the salmon.

I also decided we would make fish soup out of the head and bones. The soup turned out OK, but not a recipe to keep. Mostly simmered the fish for about 15 minuets and then picked the bones clean. We added some veggies to the water from cooking the head and bones along with salt, pepper and some spices and cooked them til tender, added the fish meat back and vow la we had soup.

The second week we bought a sockeye (red) salmon for $4.50/lb. The sockeye is the premium species. Again the fish was about 6 pounds, however we bought one without the head on. More meat less waste.

We pan broiled a couple of pieces and have not been able to tell the difference between the lower price and higher priced species. I guess we will need to taste them side by side and see what we think.

We visited the Pratt Museum, great displays and info about the area, people, history and wildlife around the Kenai Peninsula. Well worth spending 2-3 hours there.

We also visited the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center. Again very interesting and informative displays.

We also found a small out of the way bagel shop right next door to where we bought the salmon. Outstanding bagels, made fresh every morning. We ate lunch here several times.

Driving tours near Homer:

If you are staying in Homer for several days, be sure to drive the East Rd to where it turns to gravel. There are good views of the glaciers across Kachemak Bay. The gravel part is in good condition until you get to near the end where it switchbacks down a 20-25% grade to the beach. There is one switch back I had to back up about 10' to make the turn. We are in a Chevy Colorado p/u not a full sized truck. Also a 2 wheel drive vehicle may not be able to make it back up. The sharp turns keep you from having the speed and momentum to keep going. I went up in 4x4 low range.

From the East Rd, there are good views of the glaciers across Kachemak Bay. (wild roses blooming in forground)

A picture of Alaska Cotton wildflowers in a ditch along the East Rd

Another nice drive is Skyline Dr along the hillside above Homer.

Tidal Pools at minus low tides:

If you stay at Mariner Park, or you can park in the day use area, it is very interesting to walk out to the tidal pools at minus low tide. It is best at -3' or -4'.

Unfortunately I never had a sunny day to go to the tidal pools so these pictures aren't as nice as I would like.

The rocks and sand at low tide. I believe the rocks are erratics, left by the receding glaciers from the last ice age.

Attached to the large rocks (boulders) is a variety of sea life.

An all white sea anemones. This one is about 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter with very fine tentacles.

A pretty one reaching out horizontally. This one is about 4 inches in diameter. Notice my hat right above for size perspective.
Same as the above, only hanging down to reach the water

This one is hanging down over a foot to reach the water at low tide.

A blue tinged star fish clinging to the underside of a boulder

A star fish waiting for the tide to come back in.

On one of my walks I saw this pair of bald eagles. A mature and an immature one.

The mature eagle decided he wanted the boulder the other one was sitting on

And chased the immature eagle away

And to end this blog entry several views from our front yard here at Mariner Park in Homer:

A bald eagle on the beach. Look for the bright white ball with a dark object below in the upper center of the photo below. Some years ago we were told that to find the bald eagles, look for a big white golf ball in the distance.

The bald eagle taking off and flying away

Views from our front yard:

Next up, Seward, AK

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