On Monday I left around noon and hitchhiked to Seward, which is a few hours North. My mom said she was willing to pay for a bus there, but the bus left at 9:00 am and took six-seven hours to arrive. Why bother when I can get there faster for free and meet some interesting people along the way?
My first three rides took an hour and a half and got me a grand total of 30 miles out of Homer. I was thinking it was going to be a long trip when a minivan pulled over and an Alaska Native named Vince picked me up. He was a doctor in a clinic across the bay in a 300 person village and was headed to a small town outside of anchorage to buy Fourth of July fireworks for his friends. You can only buy fireworks in one place around here for some reason, as it is regulated by city, not state.
Vince took me as far as the turn off to Seward, and left me with his number in case I wanted to visit his village. He said his brother can just come over of a skiff and pick me and some other members of the collective up if we are interested in seeing village life. I think I will have to take him up on that offer.
I got a second long ride from two guys who were cutting firewood and they took me all the way in where I met my parents in downtown Seward. We went to the B&B they were staying at and I dropped my stuff off in my room. I had my own room for the first time this summer!
Dinner that night was fresh fish and seafood from a harbor front restaurant, and it was delicious. We drove around the town for a while to see everything we could before we went to bed early to get ready for our 6:45 am wake-up. We were going on a glacier cruise to see whales and other sea life.
Our captain’s name was Tiffany, and she was a unique one. My dad and I spent a lot of time on the bridge with her because the view was still good, but we didn’t have to deal with the freezing wind. She rode dirt bikes, motorcycles, surfed, and split her time between Maui and Alaska.
Over the nine-hour boat ride we were able to see an incredible amount of sea life, dozens of killer whales, several humpbacks that would shoot water 30 feet into the air before turning tail and diving down to the depths, a furious display of male aggression from some sea lions, and a falcon causing thousands of birds to panic and swarm around a rock as if they were bees. One of the humpbacks breached water, clearing 20 feet and crashing down with a magnificent splash.
We ate lunch listening to a glacier that was over half a mile across crack and calve into the water. It shook like thunder and shotguns before massive chunks of ice would plummet causing waves to push out towards our boat. The entire trip was a guide’s dream come true. I remember days like that from when I was a sea kayak guide, and you know that everyone saw more that they had expected to, and that you couldn’t have better luck with the wildlife if you had baited the water.
More on the rest of the week later.