Driving a RV in the Kenai Peninsula is a popular pastime. We were warned it would be very crowed. Fortunately for us, we were between waves. We were able to drive at a leisurely pace from Prince William Sound, to Seward, to Homer without too much traffic. It was a good thing too, as we had to stop for EVERY SINGLE MOOSE we saw, so Sharleen could get her moose fix! We saw nearly 12 moose between Seward and Homer.
One of the hidden gems we stopped at was a fishery just outside of Homer. It was an impulse stop to give the girls some rest time out of the RV and it turned out to be totally incredible. As there was no one else there we received a personalized tour. They showed us each of the growth stages of salmon, and walked us through their life cycle. Generally, 1 per 2500 eggs will return as adult salmon spawners. They showed us the development from roe, small fries. Small fries will spend a season or two in the river before going out to the ocean. They then stay in the ocean for most of their life, then return and spawn to the same river in which they were born.
Seeing so much salmon in such concentrations got me wondering, is they what the pacific Northwest looked like before over fishing and dams? There are over 1500 dams in California, and the department of fish and game frequently has to set limits on how much fishing is done to prevent critical declines of spawning fish.
Homer’s Spit is the vestige of a terminal moraine of an ancient glacier. Now it is a giant sand bar that goes quite a distance in the Cook Inlet. We RV’d at the edge of the spit and walked around through some shops and talked with a fish shop about the possibility of sending home some fresh fish: “People come here from all over to fish. They go out in the boats and come back with their catch, and then want to send them home.” After doing the math it would cost us about $8-10 per pound to box up some fish and send it back. If we took a cooler worth of fish on the plane with use it would be about $7.50 per pound. We decided buying fish from our local market at $7 per pound was a better deal but with no bragging rights.
A highlight for the kids was the Island and Ocean visitor center just before going on the spit. Aside from some amazing exhibits, and some great wetland viewing areas, they offered a Junior Ranger program. Kylie and Alyssa already had Chugach, Kenai, Tongass ranger badges, and this was a perfect opportunity for them to get one more badge while learning about the area.
We caught a 6 person passenger plane from the Ninilchick airport to Lake Clark. We had a day to kill, so we took the kids the water-park in Ninilchick. The indoor warm water park was a hit. The slides were low key enough for Kylie and Alyssa went crazy on them. While waiting for our flight we walked over to the Ninilchick river to watch some combat fishing. Taking a cue from bears, fisher people lined the river for miles reeling in fish after fish. There was a line to get in the water, and as soon as someone caught their limit, they exited, and the person waiting in line waded in and started fishing. There are courtesy gutting tables right in the water, and people cut and clean their fish right there, letting the waste fall into the river. I never saw anyone wait more than five minutes to catch a fish. Entrancing to watch, it reinforced the reoccurring theme of Alaska – land of plenty.
- Alaska: 663,268 sq mi (Population: 737,438)
- Texas: 268,581 sq mi (Population: 28,701,845)
- California: 163,696 sq mi (Population: 39,557,045)
In other words, Alaska is four times as a large as California with the population of San Francisco. Water is everywhere and there are plenty of resources. Discussions of drought, inadequate food supplies seem to be unfamiliar topics, at least in the summer months anyway.