Homer and Seward

The nice weather that have we had for a few days turned against us yesterday. It rained for most of the day so we decided to have an easy day catching up on domestic activities – many washing and emails. We did venture out for a short time but the rain was not only dampening our spirits, it also reduced the visibility considerably.

Homer has a population of around 5,000 people. It bills itself as the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World.”  The Pacific hHalibut is the world’s largest flatfish and lives in deep water. It grows up to 200 kg. Accordingly, Homer has an enormous harbour, full of fishing boats.

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Homer was named after Homer Pennock, a con man who promoted shares in fictitious gold-mining companies. He arrived on the Homer Spit in 1896, setting up various businesses and selling shares in them with no value whatsoever. The spit is a 6.5 km  long piece of land jutting out into Kachemak Bay and believed to be a remnant of the terminal moraine of a previous glacier. It is now home to the Homer boat harbour and a number of seafood restaurants, docks, ferry terminal and other visitor facilities. 

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The weather cleared today and we were back to bright sunshine for our drive to Seward on the other side of the Kenai Peninsula. We were blessed with mild and sunny weather that gave us some great opportunities to see the streams, lakes and mountains that make this area so beautiful.

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At one point, Jill spotted a bird in a tree which was clearly a Bald Eagle. Without her sharp eyesight, I would have missed it, even though to was only 20 metres away. This bird of prey is found throughout North America. It is protected, but not endangered. It is actually a sea eagle and is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting. It is an opportunistic feeder and lives mainly on fish, which it swoops down and snatches from the water with its talons. It builds a nest up to 4 metres  deep and 2.5 metres wide. Bald eagles are not actually bald; the name comes from an older meaning of the word, “white headed”. The adult is mainly brown with a white head and tail. The sexes are identical in plumage, but females are about 25 percent larger than males. The beak is large and hooked.

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When we reached Seward, we checked out the location of the company with which we will be doing a fjord and national parks tour tomorrow and then we went to look at Exit Glacier, just up the road from our similarly named hotel for the next two nights.

This glacier flows down from the Harding Ice Field which covers the central part of the Kenai Mountains.It is one of the most accessible valley glaciers in Alaska. Like nearly all of the world’s glaciers, it has receded markedly from its previous length. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, it retreated over 90 metres. It’s name comes from the fact that it was the location where the first party to ever cross the ice exited in 1968.

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2 comments

  1. Pamela Saunders · ·

    Photos just beautiful Bruce. and well spotted Jill – a Bald Eagle. And what a nest! Do they return to the same nest each year?
    I find it hard to hear about glacial retreat – a sense of powerless sweeps over me. How can we stop man-produced climate change before irreparable damage is wrought?
    Your journey and experiences this trip are utterly special. Keep safe.

  2. David · ·

    I can confidently say that neither you nor I are white headed.