Rob and Syd's Western Canada and Alaska trip 2012 travel blog

Mt Augustine letting off a little steam 80 miles from our camp

Horned puffin on the way to Halibut Cove

Another type of puffin (can't recall the type)

Halibut Cove, a small community across from Homer

Don't mess with the king

Truly a magnificent looking bird

A view of Homer Spit from the top of bluff at Halibut...

Day 64, Wednesday, June 27, 2012

There is always a surprise when we wake up in the mornings. This morning, we had mostly blue skies with a few clouds. The surprise was that the Mount Augustine volcano about 80 miles away was putting out a plume of smoke/steam/ash, whatever it is. It seemed like it was going to be a nice day after all so we drove down to the Spit and tried to get on a charter boat to Halibut Cove. We were put on standby because the boat was full. As luck would have it, a group did not show up so we got to go. The boat was the Danny J, a smallish open air boat that held about 20 people. We headed across the Kachemak Bay which is about 8 to 10 miles across. We circled Gull Island, a rookery for kittiwakes and other sea birds. There were hundreds of them in the water as well as the rocks. When an eagle flew over, they all took off flying and shrieking. (I covered my head to avoid any unexpected presents in my hair.) We also saw three kinds of puffins in the water and one sea otter. Then we went on to Halibut Cove which is a very small community on the other side of Kachemak Bay. There are about 250 people there in the summer and about 25 hardy souls that live there year round. There are no roads. At all. It was settled around 1900 when there were 42 herring salteries and about 1,000 people lived there. It became a ghost town and then was reinvented by mostly artists, craftsmen, and fishermen. Some people are all three. Our captain, whose name is also Sydney, lives there and has her paintings displayed in one of the art galleries. The lagoon is ringed by structures that can only be reached by boat and they built a boardwalk system that goes partway around the lagoon to connect some homes and businesses. There are two art galleries and one restaurant, The Saltry. There is a floating post office but no school or grocery store. The Danny J is the only commercial boat allowed to dock there. We had lunch at The Saltry, then went off down the boardwalk to explore. The tides in the Bay are among the largest in the world and we were at low tide so there was a lot of stuff exposed that is covered up at high tide. There were about a dozen bald eagles flying around above the lagoon right by the restaurant. I think they put some fish out to attract them. We walked over to the cemetery that overlooks the Bay. It was really a beautiful place. I could spend my eternity there.

On the way back to Homer, we saw Mount Augustine spew out a huge plume of smoke. By the time we docked, it was done. (I’ve seen it go once more since we got back to camp.) For about 30 minutes, we also watched a huge black plume of smoke coming from town on the way back. It was a condo complex on fire. I watched the fire while Rob washed the car at the car wash. I saw the firefighters come up on the roof from the building next door and cut a hole in the roof to vent. Then flames came shooting out of the hole. At least one building was a total loss.

So, another beautiful day. Blue skies. 53 degrees. What is Phoenix? A hundred and what?

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