Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Departing Homer for Kodiak and Chenega Bay

Did I mention departures can be ephemeral?

00DepartureBoardKennicott

“As soon as possible” can take a long long time when you are boarding cars, motorcycles, even a grown-up tricycle, container vans, campers, R/vs of all shapes and sizes, trucks, and today we learn how it is done. This is truly a marvel of engineering. It must also take some amazing system to keep straight where every vehicle needs to go because they are getting off at different stops, so all the ones getting off at the same stop need to be stored together. Watching all this happen is amazing.

They have this turntable. Cars drive on, we think a maximum of six. The turntable also handles a maximum of one large container truck.

Cars drive on the elevated turntable:

00CarsDriveOnTurntable

Turntable begins to lower:
00CarsBeingLowered

Cars reach main deck:
00CarsMainDeckLevel

Turntable begins to turn:
00TurntableBeginsToTurn

00TurntableTurns

00TurntableAlmostComplete

A friendly otter kept us entertained while we waited for all the vehicles to board.

00HomerOtter

We were told this is one of the Homer small ferries to Kachemak National Park or to Seldovia:

00HomerWaterTaxi

It is another gorgeous day in Homer, and even early in the morning, fishermen and women are on the beach:

00HomerFishingFromBeach

It’s a beautiful departure, and somewhere between Homer and Kodiak, we run into a heavy mist near sunset:

00SunsetMistEnRouteKodiak

We departed late and will be getting into Kodiak late, so late we sleep right through it. Before we know it, we are departed from Kodiak and en route to Chenega Bay and Whittier.

September 10, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Beauty, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Road Trips, Technical Issue, Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kodiak and the Trip to Homer on the M/V Kennicott

Landed in Kodiak early, so early I don’t know how early. We rise, dress and WOW, it is not raining, you can even see some sun, so we decide to walk into Kodiak. As we debark, we ask which way and the Terminal Manager Steve catches up with us and offers us a ride. It warmed my heart, this is exactly what I wanted AdventureMan to see, this is what I grew up with, the Spirit of Alaska 🙂 taking care of one another. Alaska is like one big community.

On the way, he gives us an overview of Kodiak and we talk about the big problem with the lack of ferry transportation this year with the Tustemena out of service. Tustemena is the M/V ferry that runs down the Aleutian Islands all the way to Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, another trip we want to make. It’s been a big loss for all tour related businesses on the peninsula and for Kodiak. The Kennicott will make a run down in late September to help get people, goods and vehicles out who are waiting for transportation.

We told him we wanted some breakfast, and he dropped us off at the Shelikof Lodge, full of locals. I actually asked where he eats breakfast, and he said “at home” and we learned why – this is a very busy man. He runs back and forth between all the terminals, solving problems, making sure everything is going smoothly. In Kodiak, people work hard.

At the Shelikov, AdventureMan has biscuits and gravy, and I have reindeer sausage for the first time, with a hot, spicy aftertaste I love. Even though it is very lean meat, I only eat half.

00Shelikof Lodge

Shelikov Lodge Breakfast Specialties:
00ShelikofLodgeMenu

AdventureMan’s Biscuits and Gravy
00ShelikovLodgeBiscuitAndGravy

Reindeer Sausage
00ShelikofLodgeEggReindeerSausage

00ShelikofLodgeInterior

We hike to the Russian Orthodox Church, passing a tidal wave marker on the way. It is scary – it seems rather high on the island. That tidal wave came a long way up.

00TidalWaveMarker

00RussianOrthodoxChruch

00ChurchSteeple

We walk through Kodiak, past all the processing plants, to ship. It’s not a very big place, but you can see a lot of pride in what they do.

00KodiakBearFishingSign

00KodiakBoatHarbor

00KodialPublicArt

00ArcNSparkWeldingKodiak

00WesternAlaskaFisheries

00TsunamiEvacuationArea

LOL, loading the cars and trucks and containers and R/Vs takes hours and there is a long long line of walk ons, first the Kodiak football team, all in their jerseys, and then the Kodiak high school cross country team in bright lemon yellow wind breakers. Maybe 150 students, good kids, full of energy, whooping it up.

00KodiakHSTeamsBoarding

We leave Kodiak late, but these late departures seem to be built into the ferry schedule – they never know where they will need more time.

00KodiakBay

00KodiakDock

These meadows look so Swiss to me.
00MeadowsOnKodiakHills

00DepartingKodiak

Just like Life of Pi! Fish jumping out of the water in tens and hundreds, flying!
00LikeLifeofPiFlyingFish

Whales to feed on those crops of fish
00MoreWhalesHunting

00TallSnowyMountain

Approaching the Barrens, as the sea passage gets a little rougher. This is one of the windiest, roughest areas to traverse
00ApproachingTheBarrens

There is a whole new dynamic on board with the high-schoolers. They are hilarious! All that teenage energy! We hit rough water just after going through the Barrens, and the kids are standing on the forward deck waiting for huge waves to break over the bow. When the huge waves break, it is like in a movies, a sheet of water, and the kids hang on and come up laughing.

00RollingSeaAndBarrens

00WaveBeginsToHit

00WaveHitting

00WaveAftermath

We go through rough waters about an hour, then things calm down and . . . the sun comes out! Gorgeous scenery, all the way to Homer.

Approaching Homer Spit on M/V Kennicott:
00ApproachingHomerSpit

Docked almost exactly at 9, as scheduled. We waited for the kids to all get off, then walked to the terminal, where there are NO taxis waiting. When I made reservations, I had asked the hotel if they send a shuttle to the ferry terminal and they said no, they didn’t have a shuttle, but there are always taxis waiting. No. No, that is just not true. There are not always taxis waiting.

We see a couple we had met onboard, they ask where we are going and we tell them the Driftwood Inn and he says “that’s where we’re going!” and offers to split the cab they have already called with us. Perfect! Except when we get to the hotel he discovers that he is NOT staying at the Driftwood Inn, and he has to call the taxi driver back again to take him to the Heritage Inn.

It’s sad, I think this is a generational thing, he kept calling himself a dummy. We are raised in a different generation, to call someone a dummy is just so negative and so degrading that we would never do it, not to anyone else, not to ourselves. We might say “How could I be such an idiot!?” but we were horrified – and a little heartbroken – to hear this really nice man berate himself like that.

What was cool is that we ran into them again – twice – before twenty-four hours had passed, once at the car rental agency, and once again at the Homer Farmer’s Market. They had settled in quickly, only a couple blocks from where we were staying and were having a wonderful time, heading out that afternoon in route to Prudhoe Bay. (I’m impressed.)

eiaAKimap

Our room is lovely, spacious and welcoming, with gorgeous shared spaces and a view to die for, maybe 230 degrees of glaciers, mountains, Kachemak Bay and driftwoody beach. The sun is setting, the air smells clean; sea, salt and pine, the skies are clear, and oh, life is sweet.

Sunset from Driftwood Inn, Homer, Alaska:
00SunsetViewHomerFromRoom26

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Beauty, Community, Cooking, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Environment, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Hotels, Living Conditions, Photos, Public Art, Restaurant, Sunsets, Travel, Wildlife | , , | 2 Comments