We took advantage of the long sunny day and drove all the way to Homer and back, with lots of interesting sights along the way. Mountain reflection
Throughout the day we giggled a lot thinking of Mother's Day. Of course, it's a man's world up here, so what do Alaskans do for Mother's Day? Here are some possibilities. Take Mom out halibut fishing (she gets to clean the fish.) Bring Mom to the sporting goods store and let her have her pick. Take her out to dinner -- all you can eat fish and chips. Give her a ride on the river --this time you'll row. Teach Mom how to tie salmon flies. Buy Mom a new pair of mukluks. Give Mom two newborn husky pups. Teach Mom how to fire the 30.06 just in case a grizzly should come nosing around the cabin. Bring Mom with you to the 4-wheel-drive show.
Right away this morning we spotted wildlife. Nothing less than many beluga whales cruising up Turnagain Arm, which is a fjord that cuts off Cook Inlet. It seems the eulichon are in and the whales were chasing them down for breakfast. The belugas don't show much tail, but their pure white bodies are unmistakeable. Of course the belugas had competition, too, as lots of humans with nets were out their scooping up eulichon (which is an acquired taste, we believe.) It's pronounced "hooligan".
There were so many eagles today that we got kind of blase. They are wonderful birds, though and we haven't tired of looking at them. Bald eagle
Most of the water we've passed has been moving -- either cascading down hill or whipped up by the breeze. But today we saw a lake that was so still the snow covered mountains were reflected from the surface.
We saw another moose near the highway today, and a warning sign that said 140 moose have been killed by cars this year. We also saw a group of sea otters from a clifftop lookout, and some scaup. We stopped at the Visitor Center for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, which contols most of the land, including some mountains with icefields and glaciers, on the peninsula. The ranger told us that they have most of the usual Alaskan animals. She said that there were a few licenses to shoot moose, but none for grizzlies, but that the grizzlies were often shot under the claim that they were endangering human life and property.
The fun part of Homer is Homer Spit, which sticks out into the ocean and is filled with stores and shipyards and restaurants and campgrounds and eagles. It's almost like driving out on a pier, the spit is so narrow in places. But The Homer Spit the spit is several miles long, too.
In Homer we stopped for lunch in a good old down home place. As it happens, the men and women inside were talking about a grizzly that one of them had just shot. The meat was already being smoked, the skin was at the taxidermist (who shot him.) "That bear just wanted to be shot," they said. We kept our Sierra Club badges hidden in our pockets.
We saw the Russian Orthodox Church in old Ninilchik, and in the afternoon the temperature reached 63 degrees. We realized that was the warmest it's been since we left California in February!
Coming back north we detoured to Seward, which is the preferred cruise ship port, with bus and train service to Anchorage, Denali, and Fairbanks. A Holland-American Line ship was in port. Most of the stores were closed, but we found an ice cream parlor, which served as dinner for us. We got back to Anchorage about 9:00 p.m. -- it was still sunny.