Today was a travel day, and while it was a relatively short distance – about 45 minutes across Kachemak Bay – it still somehow felt like a full day.
The boat I was to catch a ride on didn’t leave Homer until 2, so I slept in and lounged around a bit and then went to breakfast at Duncan House, which is my new favorite Homer restaurant. The local paper is a trip – petty crime, local politics, high school sports. Alaska is an interesting combination of very liberal, tie-die, artistically oriented west-county kind of people, and survivalist, non-shaving, “stay out or get shot” kind of folks. I actually saw a sign that said that, hand-lettered, next to a driveway heading into the woods between Homer and Anchor Point. I’m not sure what the percentages are, but apparently it makes politics interesting.
A waitress at Duncan’s also told me that there are a lot more men than women in this state. She said a woman seeking male partnership had her pick. “The odds are good”, she said, “but the goods are odd.”
Fully current on local news, I said goodbye to Duncan’s, gassed up the rental, went back to the hotel to get my stuff, and headed to the airport to turn in the car. Then it was off to the harbor to catch my ride to Halibut Cove, which turned out to be the mail boat. The mail boat runs twice a week, and if you watch the video that I posted you’ll see at least the front foot or two of it. It was actually a great ride, with huge views of the forests and glaciers that surround Kachemak Bay.
Oh I forgot to tell you about the taxi ride from the airport to the harbor. My taxi driver was… interesting. Looked like one of the guys in ZZ Top. I could not help but notice that he had three boxes of 12-guage shotgun shells tucked into that little storage space in the dash of his car. I pointed them out, said, “only in Alaska”, to which he replied, “That was a cab fare. The guy didn’t have any cash, but offered me the shotgun shells. I always say get the cash if you can, but if not, bullets are the next best thing.” Only in Alaska.
He dropped me off by the mail boat, which docks right by the Salty Dawg Saloon, and his parting words were to remind me that I hadn’t seen Homer if I haven’t visited the Salty Dawg, on the Homer Spit. He was the third or fourth person that had mentioned the place, so I may have to go to the dawg on the spit before I leave.
The ride over to Halibut Cover on the mail boat was beautiful. I was the only passenger, and the captain only said about 7 words from greeting to drop-off. “You comin’ with me?”, and “that’s 20 bucks.” That did allow me to just stand up at the bow and take it all in. I’m (hopefully) posting a video that speaks well to it.
Halibut Cove, thus far, is amazing. I was met by Lucas, who along with his wife Becka runs the place. They are 30-somethings and have a young daughter. He was in another boat, and ferried me further up the cove to the lodge property. It’s on some big acreage, maybe15 or 20, fronts to the cove and is surrounded by national forest. With no cars on this side of the bay, it’s among the quietest places that I have ever been. Amazingly, wonderfully, blissfully quiet. I have a huge dock/deck just down from my cabin – the hermitage – that I just may spend the majority of my time here sitting on. Since I’m the only guest, I have to to myself. The silence is ecstatic. I heard the wind on the birds wings, and the splash of an otter at the base of the deck, and loons… I’d forgotten about loons. Silence, and loons, at sunset. Made something stir in my soul.
The cabin itself is a trip. Small, but fine. They stocked the mini-fridge for me – there are no restaurants over here either – but I think I’m good to go. I’m not a big cook so got super-simple stuff. Net access is very limited – none at the cabin, but I think I can get it at the lodge, just haven’t tried that yet. If you’ve e-mailed me this week, or plan to, don’t expect a reply. Until next week. I’ll post as I can.
In the meantime, this is the beautiful, quiet, timeless Alaska that I had hoped to experience. I hope to get closer to the glaciers, but Lucas told me though that since I was the only guest here this late in the season that they wouldn’t be doing a guided hike up there. Which, after fishing yesterday, might kill me anyway. He did say I could go on walkabout by myself, which I plan to do, since this is an adventure after all.
He also showed me the kayaks. But, same situation. I am the only guest here, the last guest of the season, so no group or guided things happening. It’s weird having this place all to myself. Nice in a way, but a little… weird. Uber quiet. Anyway, the kayaks they have are the seagoing kind – long, impossibly skinny, unstable – the kind you need to know how to roll yourself over in case you flip. As if that’s going to happen in glacial water. He asked if I had fleece and quick drying thermal clothes. I told him I had cotton shirts, a sweatshirt, a jacket and new shoes and socks. “Can’t wear cotton on the water in this cold. Get it wet, cotton kills.” So I’m very excited about all of that.
I’m going to try to talk him into letting me use the little skiff with the little motor.
Tomorrow (day five – today, as I post this) I will do some exploring, and will also have my first experience with a compostable toilet. I am very excited about that too.