• Frank DeArmas

Homer Alaska

Where The Mountains Meet the Ocean


Jan and I by our Seaplane


In Anchorage we started to see Alaska as we remembered, having come by cruise back in 2015. Many of you may have done this same trip, traveling along the coast and seeing the beauty that is the Alaskan shoreline.



We Passed this one on the way out of port.


The waters surrounding Alaska are some of the most beautiful in the world. And the sea life is amazing. So I was anticipating getting out of the interior of the state and seeing those sites once more.


As we left Anchorage and made our way to Homer, we are now at the part of our trip where we not only get to reintroduced ourselves to this beautiful coast, but also, see it in much more detail as you can only do when you spend more time than a standard port call.


The first thing that really gets you is the drive. The road leading to Homer runs along the coast and through some beautiful Forest lands. It is also remote with many areas of no cell coverage.


Murphy's law states that if there’s no cell coverage, then someone will likely have RV trouble. Unfortunately Dave and Vicki’s beautiful new Class A broke down and had to be flat towed back to Anchorage. But like before, many in our group stopped to lend a hand and make sure they were ok and things were under control.


Now I can report Dave has made many friends at Cummings as they worked to fix his rig. Did I mention it was new?

 

Our Campsite in Homer

Photo of our campsites taken from the Sea Plane


The day we drove in was cloudy, what’s new right? But as we neared the RV park we ran into a very thick fog, so we pulled in and parked in our spot but could not see what was behind us.


Then the fog started to lift and when I looked just behind our rig the view made me just stare in awe. We were high on a cliff over looking Kachemak bay and looking across to Kachemak state park.


And then the text went out that there were whales in the bay, well, you just knew this would be an epic stop.



View behind our camper

 

The Homer Spit

View of the Spit from the air


The Spit is really the hub of activity in Homer. It juts out into the bay and has many little shops and restaurants, it’s also where you go when you go out fishing, which we were scheduled to do in a day or so. Jan and I enjoyed going into the little shops looking for things that we might like to bring home to remember our trip. Ok, yes, it is a tourist trap lol, but fun.



Views from the Spit



 

Halibut Fishing Trip



A three hour tour (I wish, it was 6 hours, 6 long hours) - Fishing for halibut


When I saw this boat in harbor, I should have known how it was going to go. Yeah, if you’ve watched the Deadliest Catch you’ll know what I mean. My friends, I never get seasick. You guys know we’ve been boating forever, and I don’t get sick. Well, not until that day.


Heading out to Sea


The morning broke raining and dreary with winds blowing stiffly. I started to think that this may not have been the greatest idea, but I really wanted to go Halibut fishing, and Jan was coming with us!. So the group of us chartered this boat. Nice boat, good Captain and Mates.



So far so good!


We headed out to sea from the spit, little bumpy but not bad. The rain did not let up all day. Then, it got nasty. We hit our first spot and I could see Jan turning green. To be fair the seas were picking up and we were bobbing like a cork as we dropped lines. She caught her first Halibut before the effects got to her, and yes towards the end she recovered and caught her second.


Seas starting to pick up


I started thinking, hey this is not bad. In fact I caught a shark and reeled it in. The shark had the last laugh. As they took her off my hook, and threw her back, I lost it. Yeah that means what you think it does.


I was so sick that a halibut hit my line and I could not reel it up so Bill did it for me. What was I doing? I think they call it chumming the water. But I was not alone. Bill took these shots and it tells the whole story. I did get to bond with Danny as we both worshipped the sea gods off of the port side.


Good news is that we all shared the catch and we did well. So we all brought home fish.



Can we go back now/ We got fish.

 

Chasing the northern lights.


Many of you have heard Jan talking about the Northern lights. This has been on her bucket list for I don’t know how long. Well she and Teresa, one of our wagon masters, lead the charge to try to see the lights.


They had apps and websites, and it was determined that tonight was the night, right here in Homer. So word was put out and around 8 cars went out that night to try to see the lights, driving around the hills of Homer.


I am sad to report that no Northern lights were seen, but the night sky was beautiful, and we had a blast on our secret mission. Oh and no one got arrested.


These shots were taken at around 12:30 AM, and yes that’s the Sun to the west.


This last section is being told by Jan, and it is about one of the highlights, maybe THE highlight of our trip.


 

Jan’s fun Facts


Lake Clark National Park and Preserve




The fun facts I’m going to talk about for Homer, AK is Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Lake Clark is one of the nation’s most remote national parks. You can only get there by plane or boat. Part of Lake Clark NP is Crescent Lake, Crescent Lake is a nine-mile-long glacier-fed lake. The lake is a beautiful turquoise blue which is caused by glacier flour. On Crescent Lake is a lodge called Redoubt Mountain Lodge. It is the only lodge and privately owned property on this beautiful lake. The lodge is named after Mount Redoubt volcano, which is an active volcano, the last time it erupted was in 2009.





One of my bucket lists items has always been to spend the day observing bears (and of course photographing them). When we found out we could go to this remote area and watch the bears by pontoon boat, I was excited and hesitant at the same time. As I said above, you can only get there by boat or plane and in this case only by plane. As most of you know, I tend to get motion sickness on small planes, so we almost passed on this opportunity. I said almost, I laid awake at night knowing if we don’t do this, I will regret it.


So, getting another item off that endless bucket list, we decided to go for it. I’m so glad we did. It was the most magical day I have ever experienced.


The company we went through is called Beluga Air, owned by Wes and Angela Head. They were so nice and since we booked only a few days before our trip, we didn’t pay until that morning when we met Wes. Wes was our pilot and the kind of guy that just puts you at ease. As I said before, I was a little hesitant but once I met Wes and we boarded his seaplane, I was very relaxed. Frank of course was in heaven. The flight to Redoubt Lodge took about 45 minutes and I didn’t even feel the takeoff or landing. The scenery was breathtaking especially once we started seeing Crescent Lake. Throughout the whole flight, Wes was telling us different stories about the area and pointing out landmarks. I never thought I would say this, but the seaplane ride was as amazing as the bears.


Once we landed, they took us to the lodge for a wonderful lunch. (There were 5 of us, a dad and son from the Netherlands, a gentleman from Georgia and of course Frank and I) Another fun fact is Lake Clark is at the headwaters of the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world. Guess what we had for lunch, yes, fresh sockeye salmon. I do believe that was the best salmon I have ever had.



Once we finished our amazing lunch, it was time to get on the pontoon boat to go see if we could find some bears. And did we find some bears! Our guide Clark seemed to know where to go, because we saw at least 19 of them in different areas to the lake. I was in heaven watching the bears play in the water and catching salmon. Frank got some great videos. I was hopeful that I got some great photos, but even if I didn’t, I was having the time of my life. Not only was it great seeing all the bears, but the scenery was so beautiful. No photo or video will ever do it justice.



After about an hour and a half of tooling around the lake, we decided to go back to the lodge for a bathroom break and some hot chocolate. (As I said in the last blog, it was time to bring out the long under ware, it sure came in handy today. Being in the mountains, it was quite chilly). Anyway, after our hot chocolate break we went back out for another hour and a half or so to enjoy the beauty and bears.





Unfortunately, the day had to come to an end, and it was time to get back into the seaplane and head back to Homer. As we took off, there was a bear playing in the water, and I swear he waived us goodbye. On the ride back, when looking out at the water, you could see hundreds of salmon swimming. A great ending to a great day.


My niece asked me before we took this journey to see the bears, what has been my favorite thing so far. I had to think about it because every step of this adventure has been wonderful. If she asked me now, hands down this has been the best part of the trip. As I said before, it was truly magical. I’m so glad I put all my worries aside and just followed my passion, life is just too short not to.








 


Homer was a great place to visit, even with the fishing trip, grin.. Next stop for us is Seward. As always we hope you enjoyed the blog and until next time, we will see you on the road!



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