The Globe and beyond travel blog

It's no village, but there's Anchorage's idiot. (Guy at the Sunday market.)

On the road to Homer.

The spit from above.

Our view of the bay.

Sand bar.

Low tide on the spit.

Not quite swimming temps.

Our flightseeing ride.

Buzzing for bears.

We're going where?

Gack.

Err, pilot ...

Nice.

Homeward bound.

Out back at the Driftwood.


About the title - no, we haven't gotten bored and resorted to reading Greek mythology. But we are in the town of Homer, and we'll explain that odyssey bit shortly.

Alaska is the kind of place that attracts people who want to be at the edge of the world, and when the rest of the state starts to feel too accessible, people go to Homer. Even the locals call it the end of the road, which is apt - it's the farthest west you can take a highway in North America unless you ship your car to Hawaii or get on a ferry to the Aleutian islands. (Hint: We can't afford to go to Hawaii.)

The town's other geographical quirk is a gravel bar known as the Homer Spit, which juts halfway (7 kilometres!) across the Pacific inlet known as Kachemak Bay, in a spectacular setting beneath 4,000-foot mountains and glaciers. It's home to the ferry terminal and municipal harbour, and half the town sets up shop out there in the summer months to hawk whale-bone carvings, fishing trips and halibut & chips to the tourists.

So needless to say, it's a pretty unique place. And now we're here.

We spent our first night in a loft above a souvenir shop on the drag, with great views of the bay to the south and the spit scene to the north. We fell asleep with the waves crashing, but the tide was wayyy out in the morning - we walked out a couple of hundred feet to find water's edge and the fattest gulls in the business. In the afternoon, we spent what may prove to be the best $120 (U.S.) of our lives on a flightseeing tour in a little Cessna, which took us up over the glacier and ice fields in the mountains across the bay. We were both floored by the views.

Our second night was spent at the Driftwood, a more ordinary inn on shore proper, but the view was still great, and it gave us a chance to catch up on laundry before leaving on - you guessed it - the Aleutian ferry voyage.

Tonight, we're getting on the M/V Tustumena (known colloquially as the "Trusty Tusty") and spending three days out, three days back on the monthly run to Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, a little speck in the Bering Sea halfway to Russia. Dutch Harbor attained a certain level of notoriety during the Second World War when the Japanese bombed and occupied it; the fight to take it back was the only WWII campaign fought on North American soil.

Given our location, we're probably going to be out of contact for the better part of a week. We might find e-mail in Kodiak or Unalaska, but it's no sure thing and heck, we aren't going out to the remotest outpost on our continent to spend the whole afternoon in a cyber cafe. So sit tight and we'll give you all the poop as soon as possible.

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POSTSCRIPT: Look for Guy's story on our Northwest Territories road trip in The Globe and Mail ... We're told that if it's not in this weekend's Travel section, it'll probably be in a Wednesday or Saturday edition later this month.



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