Avenues of History Flowing to the Sea
July 3, 2014 | Captains bLOG | 0 comments
| Author: Captain Rob
On the edge of crisp with a buttery flavor mixed with a sweetness that seems to explode the taste buds with each bite is what is known as Starvin Marvins Pizza. Only found where the road ends in Homer Alaska but also where adventures begin. Such was our last meal on land before sliding out of the harbor bound for places beyond the horizon.
We’re on a SWAN charter for the National Park Service for 11 days. A 500 mile coastal excursion with 9 scientist, myself, Star, and my nephew Shay for crew. The mission; habitat study of otters, intertidal zone health, Oyster Catcher (bird) colony studies, and numerous other fowl and ocean inhabitants studies. Each scientist onboard is a specialist in their field.
Cape Douglas 70 miles west of Homer was our first destination. Ice Cream. Frosted Cakes. Snow Cones. What do they have in common with Cape Douglas you ask? They all remind me of the cape. One huge glacier ice field best sums up Cape Douglas. Decades have past since any of it’s numerous glaciers have reached the sea claiming the title, Tide Water Glacier. Yet, they still impress. In a 7 mile stretch along the coast we counted 3 glaciers which had weaved their way down the mountains like the one above along this desolate but beautiful coastline. Laced with traces of the mountain sides they’ve ground and chewed into, avenues of rock hold testimate to the flowing mite of these rivers of ice.
There are no communities along this coast for the next couple of hundred miles in either direction. There is however large brown fur covered creatures holding court over this region and it’s inhabitants. We will try to stay out of their way!
Weather forecast was for variable 15 mph winds, what we encountered was a steady 17 mph wind. Seas were only about 4 feet not bothering Dream Catcher, but for the scientific crew it was a different matter. We carried 5 skiffs aboard. Our 18’ Achilles with a 90 hp and for the survey group, two rigid hulls of 16’ and two 14’ Zodiacs. Almost thirty minutes to the mark the first crew we’d dropped off to start transects was hailing us on the VHF. Too rough! The transects called for maintaining 10 knots and they were just getting slammed by the seas. We’d already headed down the coast to drop off the other two groups. Jogged in place until they caught up. Ever tried jogging a boat?It is easy, sometimes! Put the engines in idle, turn on the auto pilot and relax as you sit basically in one place due that the tidal current is pushing against the vessel with the almost equal force the engines were propelling us forward.Once they were back aboard, all coastal transects for the day were canceled and we headed down to Kukack Bay for some studies inside her protected waters.
Robert & Star