I know, I know. I said we were leaving for Seward. But we love, love Homer – so we decided to stay three more days. After dinner yesterday, we went to the waterfront and watched the fishermen. While there, we saw four giant sea otters playing fairly close to shore – they’re so cute, and can usually be found floating on their backs – eating.
As we were driving home, there were a few cars parked in a unlikely place. Being the inquisitive types, we also stopped. Guess what we saw, right there before our eyes – A BALD EAGLE five actually – mom, dad, and their gigantic nest with three baby eaglets. We were spellbound for awhile, until the sun started to set (10pm). That’s when we signed up for three more days. Tomorrow, we plan on returning for a repeat performance.
The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks. The eagle represents freedom. Living as he does on the tops of lofty mountains, the eagle has unlimited freedom. Their strong wings can sweep into the valleys below, or soar upward into the boundless spaces beyond.
We had a number of chores to do, but at the end of the day we met up with new friends from Maryland at their campsite right on the water. Shout out to Karen and Bob.
These two are way cool. In fact, Bob’s latest profession is pinball machine repairman – a pinball wizard, if you will. You just don’t meet those guys everyday. Luckily, we did.
While on the beach, having a little refreshment on that very picnic table, we watched this go by.
It’s a motored paraglider. Just soaring across Kachemak Bay. We saw one earlier in the year in the desert at Quartzsite, AZ. What a way to go…
Here’s a close-up. Thank you Google Images.
I gotta’ get me one of those…
You know I love roadside oddities, so may I present, the Home Spit Fish Hook.
The “Circle Hook Sculpture” is the newest addition to the Spit, part of the City of Homer’s 1% for art program. This sculpture was installed April 2015. It stands 13 feet high and is purported to be the largest fishing hook sculpture in the galaxy. OK!
It was finally time to leave Homer, and we headed for Seward, Alaska. Actually, we hadn’t planned on going to Seward, but everyone we met said it was a “must”. Some people even claimed it was their favorite town of all. Well, not being on a schedule, far be it from us to miss “the best”.
On our way to Seward, we stopped in Anchor Point, the westernmost point in North American accessible by auto.
Seward, Alaska, is an interesting little town. It is particularly famous because it is the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, a true wilderness, mostly reachable by watercraft. Only Exit Glacier is accessible by car and a short hike. The ship we took to see the park was called the Glacier Express. Here’s Tim just before boarding.
it was a 7 1/2 hour tour, and they even served a prime rib/salmon dinner with all the complements. Delish.
The glaciers we visited included Holgate and Aialik. But as important as the glaciers, we saw lots of wildlife, including Steller sea lions, sea otters, humpback whales, and lots of birds such as horned puffins, tufted puffins, Common Murres, and Black-legged Kittiwakes. There was a National Park ranger on board to assist with sightings, and answer any questions – thanks Ranger Colleen. I’m not going to use any adjectives to describe what we saw. I’ll let you choose the descriptors. So here we go…
In the next picture, look at the rocks in the lower left corner. Sitting there are Steller Sea Lions, the largest of the eared seals.
There were hundreds of Kittiwakes sitting on these rocks.
Winding through these rocky coves often felt a little like the Caribbean.
We only had time to take this shot of the fluke of a humpback. If you want to see it a little closer, just click on the picture.
The biggest “see” of the day was a fin whale. Apparently, it’s a rare sight. There was a mom with her baby – two fins and side-by-side spouts. Though we got to see her beautiful long body, gliding just below the surface, I’ll have to borrow a pic from Google Images for you. I don’t think they’ll mind.
The fin whale is the second-largest animal after the blue whale. Just imagine! The largest recorded is a maximum confirmed length of 85 ft, and a maximum recorded weight of 132.5 tons. American naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews called the fin whale “the greyhound of the sea… for its beautiful, slender body that is built like a racing yacht, and can surpass the speed of the fastest ocean steamship.”
Another thing I loved was watching the puffins. Now this is a cute, cute little bird!
There are three species of Puffins, identified by their brightly colored beaks during the breeding season. They mainly live in large colonies on coastal cliffs or offshore islands. Two species, the tufted puffin and horned puffin, are found in the North Pacific Ocean – they’re the ones we saw. All puffin species have predominantly black or black and white feathers, a stocky build, and large beaks. They shed the colourful outer parts of their beaks after the breeding season, which leaves a smaller and duller beak. Their short wings are adapted for swimming with a flying technique under water. Not only are they cute, but they’re funny, too. They are small in stature, and kind of chubby. They kind of look like a sea plane taking off and landing.. Sometimes they don’t make it out of the water to continue the flight, but seem to stop, take a breath, and then try again. Once airborne, they spread their legs, and flap their wings, up to 400 times per minute. To locate them while they’re resting on the water, you kind of look for an orange rind that someone carelessly threw overboard, just floating along. Fabulous little guys.
After the cruise, we drove to Exit Glacier to complete the day. President Obama visited this very spot to highlight the effects of climate change.
The National Park Service has placed markers showing the year-by-year retreat of the glacier. Here is a post for 2005. Kind of sad, right?
Lest we forget, I do have one more oddity to show you, Espresso Simpatico.
This is a fully operational, drive-by coffee shop. It could use a little paint. But, hey – what’s not to like?
Our next stop is Valdez, pronounced val-deez (believe me, I checked and rechecked ). In order to get there, we have to back track a bit. So we’re once again in Big Bear Rv Park in Palmer for a few days. – maybe we’ll wait for the rain to slow down a little. Valdez is another place we really hadn’t planned on visiting. When I think of Valdez, Alaska, sadly, I think abut the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As with Seward, many people think this is the prettiest town in Alaska. Again, we’re not going to miss anything. I mean, when will we ever get back to Alaska? So, onward…see you in Valdez.