GAFA Day 4: Rain & Fog Rule
We knew when we went to bed last night that rain was forecast today, but we still anticipated flying to Bachatna Creek on the west side of Cook Inlet to seek our three-fish limit of Silver (Coho) salmon. Up early again (but not as early as yesterday) and fortified by Moose Is Loose apple fritters and pecan rolls and steaming cups of java, we made the 45 minute drive to Alaska West Air in Nikiski, north of the City of Kenai, and arrived comfortably before our scheduled 7:30 arrival time. When we walked in, the office/waiting area was filled with dozens of hopeful but anxious anglers still waiting for their 7 a.m. departure flights. Shortly before 8 a.m. that group received the bad news that their trips had all been cancelled. Dejected, they trudged back to their cars, leaving about a dozen of us still on the bubble for our 8 a.m. departures. But at 8:40, AWA staff announced that heavy fog, especially in our landing area, meant our trip was scratched also. It’s likely that none of the dozen or so scheduled fly-outs today left the ground, and a lucky group of spawn-ready Coho salmon avoided a swim through a gauntlet of hooks in various rivers.
(As I sit here writing, I just got a call from the indefatigable Sherri Brush at EZ Limit Guide Service with the great news that she booked us on another fly-out tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. So, instead of sight-seeing, we’ll be back on the water looking for cooperative Cohos. Yeah!)
We decided to use the remainder of the day to do a little sight-seeing (not much given the rain and fog) and go to Homer to look around and search out a museum I had read about. The drive south to Homer took us past Anchor Point, which is where we’ll launch the halibut phase of this GAFA on Saturday, so we took a short detour to the meet-up point to make sure we wouldn’t have any difficulty finding it in the dark two mornings from now.
We got to Homer about 11 and drove out on the Homer Spit, which I learned today was created as a terminal moraine by a retreating glacier thousands of years ago that deposited its load of dirt and gravel at the end of Kachemak Bay. Although the spit sunk about 6 feet March 27, 1964, as a result of the record-setting 9.2 earthquake, Homerians decided to add thousands of tons of rocks to the spit, bringing it up to today’s level and allowing shops, docks and fueling facilities to be rebuilt. Given the cold wind and rain today, a hot bowl of clam chowder was in order, and we found a small place on the Spit that served up a good bowl of it.
Following lunch and a couple of short visits in some Spit shops (that sounds disgusting), we headed back to the mainland to find the Pratt Museum I had read about. With only one U-turn, we found the Museum and I was surprised to see, instead of a typical local history museum, a large, relatively new building. Inside, it offered professionally designed and built museum exhibits that covered natural and human history, marine life, and an art gallery. John and I spent more than an hour going through the museum and both of us came away edified and intellectually satisfied, having learned several important things about settlers, coal miners, fox farmers, crabbers and fishermen; about the Kenaitze indigenous people; about the Exxon Valdez oil spill; and about the endless trials and tribulations of surviving a harsh and unforgiving environment. Once again, our time and our $10 entry fee at a local museum were well spent.
Now we’re enjoying our evening libations, relaxing or writing a blog, and looking forward to another GAFA day on the water tomorrow.
With any luck, the next blog entry will include pictures of a successful fishing outing on the Kustatan River where Mark Stevens and I had a soggy but wonderful fishing adventure two years ago.