A Travellerspoint blog

Day 9

Heading Home

This was our final day in Alaska. We are happy to say we packed all of our rain gear but never needed it…rare for Alaska. Today we drove back to Anchorage and met up with Tara Pies, one of Colleen’s family friends. We enjoyed a last night of fabulous seafood and brews. This has been an amazing trip. We leave tonight and head back to Indy. Hope to talk to all of you soon! :) Colleen and Alan

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Day 8

Rescue Mission, Kayaking and Halibut Cove

Our day started uneventfully with beautiful sunny skies. We grabbed breakfast and went over to True North Kayak Adventures store to begin our kayak tour. Their slogan is the adventure is in the journey not the destination. This was so true for today. We took a small boat to Yukon Island, a small uninhabited island where the kayak trips take off from. We were arranging our gear when we saw a small plane flying very low. We thought it was strange but maybe they were doing some sightseeing. Unfortunately we were wrong. The plane took two more tight turns and then crashed onto the beach about 250 yards from where our kayak group was standing. It was very surreal to see the plane crash site (luckily we did not see if hit directly because a large rock was blocking our view). It took us a second to get our bearings and to realize what had happened. We then ran to the crash site. When we got closer, there was one woman walking out of the plane with assistance from one of the kayak guides. One other woman had been helped out of the plane and was lying on the sand. She was badly injured with a compound ankle fracture. I stayed with this woman, Cledia, as others stabilized her ankle and placed her on a make shift backboard made from plywood and sticks. Alan helped remove the remaining two people from the plane. When he got there they were moaning but not truly conscious. He first helped remove Jenn the pilot. Next he helped pull Jim from the plane. The group was trying to remove the passengers away from the plane as quickly as possible because they could smell and see the fuel coming out of the plane. Alan stayed with Jenn. She was able to say she was from Homer and the correct day but was struggling more as time went on. The closest coastguard helicopter is stationed in Kodiak so local tourism helicopters came to the site to help transfer the patients to the hospital in Homer. Many boats pulled up to offer assistance. There was a doctor in our kayak group plus a firefighter, nurse, and a retired paramedic on boats. The first helicopter was there within 20 minutes of the plane crash. Jim was taken first because he had a significant head injury. Next the younger woman was taken. We later found out she was pregnant and unfortunately lost the baby. Jen and Cledia were the next to be flown out. It was a frightening experience but we were both very thankful we were able to help out. As of now, all are still alive. Here is a picture of the crash scene.

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The plane crash made the front page of the Anchorage Daily News. This is a link to the Homer local paper.

http://www.homernews.com/stories/06202007/news_1_001.shtml

After the police talked with a few people from our kayak group, we were able to start our kayak tour. We were not sure if we even wanted to go out on to the water following such a tragic event. However, it was good to get on the water and clear our heads. It was a beautiful day. We saw many eagles and a few sea otters. Luckily we kayaked away from the crash site.

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This is a picture of the plane crash site taken when we were kayaking.

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After our trip we cleaned up and went to dinner in Halibut Cove. This cove is only accessible by boat. It has a few art galleries and a great place for dinner. They also had great drinks.

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During our boat ride back we enjoyed watching a beautiful sunset.

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Our last stop for the night was the Salty Dawg. At this bar, people tack up one dollar bills with notes written on them. If you are ever there, look for our dollar over the doorway into the pool room.

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Day 7

Homer

We drove 4 hours to Homer. We stayed at the end of the Homer Spit. The Homer Spit is a 5 mile long and half mile wide area lined with galleries, restaurants, and shops. There were a bunch of eagles on the spit. One landed very close to us on the top of telephone pole.

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Our hotel room was right on the beach with great views of the Katchemak Bay.

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Day 6

Whales and Glaciers

Today was a very restful day. The clouds were out but we were able to see a beautiful whale. We actually caught this one on video and were able to take a picture.

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Tonight was our last night of the cruise. We enjoyed halibut at the Captain’s dinner.

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After dinner we watched the Chenga glacier calve. It makes a loud thunder like sound and then large pieces of ice fall off the glacier into the water. We were able to get closer to this glacier than the others. This cruise has been a wonderful experience. We have been able to see wildlife up close and enjoy amazing scenery. Tomorrow we are off to Homer for 2 nights.

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Day 5

Glaciers and Wildlife

Today started out as another beautiful day but the clouds moved in later. We were awoken in the early morning by loud scrapping sounds of the big chunks of ice. Luckily the crew told us to expect this otherwise we would be thinking Titanic. We got out of bed to see the beautiful Harvard glacier. This glacier is half a mile wide and 300 feet tall. We were lucky enough to see some big chunks of ice fall into the water. This is called calving. It starts with a thunder like sound of the ice shifting and cracking. Then the ice tumbles to the water and creates a big wave that rocked our boat. It was pretty amazing to see.

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We spotted a bunch of harbor seals on the ice enjoying the sunshine.

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After more glaciers, we saw groups or “rafts” of sea otters. They were so cute swimming on their backs. The mothers carry their young on their bellies. This was also a great time to read and catch some sun on the top deck.

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Next we passed through Ester Passage. Very few boats are able to go through this passageway because it is very narrow. Here we saw a bald eagle sitting in a tree. We also saw a bear on the shoreline.

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Once out in more open water, we saw small porpoises jumping next to the boat (these looked like black dolphins). Later we saw whales! Unfortunately we were unable to get any good pictures. But, it was fun looking for the spray of water and then seeing the whale smoothly crest the surface. We also saw steller sea lions. The males weigh up to 2,200 pounds. They were bellowing at each other. They were loud!

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Our final stop was at Columbia bay and glacier. Here are some of the massive icebergs. Only 10% of the icebergs are visible. Wow!

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