International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Alaska Found
To Alaska - Part Nine
left the Army RV Park at 0800 and headed toward Homer, Alaska a
180 mile run. The scenery once again was magnificent. We passed
through another small berg called Copper Landing the name is bigger
than the town of 358. The Kenai River, a famous salmon river sits
along Copper Landing. This place booms when the salmon run.
Sterling is the
next city with a population of 4888. Our old Air force buddy Tom Bailey
lives outside of Sterling right on the Kenai River with his wonderful
Tom on my cell phone and he informed us to be at the fishing boat dock
at 0600 the next morning. Tom scheduled us a charter boat several weeks
We entered Homer around noon and stopped at local restaurant and had
lunch. Homer is the fishing capital of Alaska. Im not saying everyone
in Homer smells like fish but they darn sure look like fisherman. The
weather was miserable at best.
fishing docks sit on a spit or a very narrow strip of land that
runs out into the bay. They are building high rise condos at the
very end and selling them for somewhere around a million a piece.
The price per pound of fish gets pretty steep in Alaska.
We parked our RV at Heritage RV Park. Cost for full facilities,
and water, sewer, and electric $89.00 per night. Ive stayed
in real nice motels for less, but you could eat off the bathroom
floors. The place was spotless.
Shortly after we were all connected and opened a bottle of wine
the wind started to blow. Our RV was rocking and rolling and the
cold rain began. It lasted for a couple of hours.
The next morning
we met Tom and his son-in-law and his brother-in-law at the marina.
The temperature was in the low thirties with winds gusting around 30
mph. The charter boat captain canceled the trip for today. He said it
would possibly be two days before we could go out. He would call Tom
tonight if tomorrow looked okay.
We headed for Toms home on the Kenai River. Tom bought this place
many years ago. It was a large A frame. Since then he and his wife added
a two car garage with a large living area above it and remodeled the
original area. The home is now completely winterized and has views most
people see only on post cards.
We pulled onto his driveway and right in front of the RV is a full size
parking meter. Tom informed us it wouldnt cost us $89.00 per night
but the meter is empty and he expected it to be full when we left. Tom
was only joking, but the parking meter does get your attention.
Two days of eating our stomachs are full of Sandys cooking, including
home smoked salmon, home made rhubarb pie, and Toms sisters cooking
was all made from scratch. We all enjoyed lots of laughs and stories
dating back over 45 years ago when we were in the Air Force together.
Homer was sunny, cold and with a calm wind at 0600 when the twin diesel
engines on the charter boat sprang to life. We headed out of the marina
to the north passing several snow capped mountains. The seas were calm
and the captain poured the coals to the twin engines running at 25 knots.
We arrived twenty five miles later at the Barren Islands. They were
barren except for thousands of sea galls. We pulled along side the islands
and dropped our lines into 185 feet of water. We are fishing for halibut.
We landed the first halibut in ten minutes. We had six large halibut
in the boat within an hour. Arms were already tired.
We were all busy with our lines when someone spotted a large hump back
whale off to our left. He was bigger than our boat, but he only surfaced
twice before heading elsewhere. Not one picture was taken, too busy
fishing. We had our limit of two halibut per man in two hours. Jim brought
in the biggest at 109 lbs. I was right behind him at 90 plus lbs., but
I must add that Tom helped me bring him in as his line was tangled with
We headed back to Homer all happy and tired and arms sore from dragging
these monsters from the bottom. We had Buttwhackers a fish cleaning
company clean and freeze dry our fish. All the halibut dressed out at
partied over at Toms sisters home only a couple of miles
from Toms home that evening until our pillows called. We ate
a large breakfast the next morning at Toms sisters place
and said our goodbyes to everyone. Jim and Mike each had 30 lbs
of vacuumed sealed frozen halibut in a Styrofoam box. I had 50 lbs
in another box. Cost per pound including charter boat, cleaning,
license, freeze dried vacuumed sealed: $17.56. Not bad for fresh
fish that we caught.
We put on 6002 miles
on the RV since we picked it up in Indiana. We spent just over $2100.00
in fuel. I wont give you the liquor bill it might sound high to
some folks. Jim and Mike were scheduled on the same plane and I was
scheduled on another plane. My plane was to depart at 0012 at gate #2
and fourteen of us missed our plane because they failed to tell us the
gate number changed. With 50 lbs of fish that cost me additional $50.00
to put on the plane heading to Portland and my next flight two hours
later heading to Seattle and temperatures hovering around 107 degrees
in Phoenix I used some words I normally dont use in front of a
I arrived in Phoenix an hour later than scheduled thanks to some shuffling
at Seattle. My halibut waiting for me in the air conditioned airport.
A good friend of mine grabbed my luggage off the conveyor. Thank You!
Mike and Jim were held up in Atlanta for six hours and they lost some
halibut due to thawing.
For those who are thinking of dragging your butts off the couch and
doing some traveling dont wait for the fuel prices to drop. Go
© Sam Black
Sam Black in Alaska
I believe in having goals.
North to Alaska Pt 2
Petoskey sits on Lake Michigan I suggest you visit it someday.
North To Alaska - Part 3/4
We headed out at 0600 on Highway 2 westbound. Our goal is to drive
as far as we can. The state of North Dakota is rather boring until you
get to Devils Lake
North to Alaska - Parts
We left Jasper National Park at 0600 hoping to find a bear early
in the morning. We are on highway 16 heading northwest to Kluane Glacier
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