Kachemak Bay, Homer and Seldovia
A visitor's first glimpse of Homer from the the highway approach
to the town is likely to be the most dramatic. Homer's most
unusual feature is the five-mile-long spit that juts out into
Kachemak Bay. The spit is most easily seen as a whole from high
on the bluffs overlooking the town, and that's the view provided
motorists as they come around the last hillside curve before
the highway descends into town.
and Halibut Cove across the bay are artist colonies as well
as tourist attractions. Homer greets migrating shorebirds
and birdwatchers with a festival in early May, and a
summer-long halibut derby keeps charter operators busy from
May 1 through Labor Day. Visitors wanting to see big fish should
head for the fish weigh station on the spit in late afternoon.
There they may see fish on display that are as big as the people
who caught them.
Beachcombers on the spit's rocky shore may be collecting coal
instead of shells. Chunks of coal broken off an underwater seam
regularly wash up on the beach. In the spring, before the end
of the school year, groups of grade schoolers may be seen exploring
the tidal pools, identifying a variety of creatures including
Homer's attractions include the Pratt Museum, with exhibits
of ancient Native artifacts and aquariums and other displays
of the area's bird and marine life.
The character of the spit changes in the winter, when eagles
throng to it. They can be found, as thick as sparrows, roosting
on rooftops, on coal piles, on every suitable surface -- attracted
by the promise of lots of fish, delivered by a woman who for
several years has ensured that they remain well fed.
4,000 people live in Homer; fewer than 100 live in Halibut Cove,
a hideaway seven miles across the bay. Halibut Cove has cabins,
bed and breakfasts and a lodge for overnight visitors. Day visitors
can wander along a mile-long boardwalk, visit art galleries
and eat at the cove's one restaurant.
Homer is the westernmost point of North America's road system.
To get to Seldovia, about 16 miles southwest of Homer, it's
necessary to charter a boat or small plane or take a ferry.
Seldovia is a small town, with a population of less than 300.
Its attractions in addition to the setting, include its big
Fourth of July celebration, a boardwalk that dates from the
1930s and the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church (at right),
built in 1891, and now a national historic site.
Homer is a five-hour drive or 20-minute plane trip from Anchorage.
Some cruise ships and the Alaska state ferry also stop there.
Halibut Cove can be reached by boat or floatplane.