“Lucky is the visitor who drives into Homer on a clear day,” says the Lonely Planet book on Alaska. And we were certainly lucky, as the stunning Grewingk Glacier was in full view across Kachemak Bay. Homer is at the end of the road in the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage, Alaska. With a population of just over 5,000, Homer is the counter-culture capital of Alaska, full of artists and fishermen and people who are “disillusioned with mainstream society.”
Jutting out 4 miles from Homer into Kachemak Bay is the Homer Spit, a narrow gravel bar full of dock facilities, restaurants and yes, bars. It’s the bustling, noisy, touristy section of Homer that dropped 6 feet into the ocean during the 1964 earthquake. Many mainland residents jokingly wish the rowdy Spit had fallen all the way in.
The city of Homer was founded by Homer Pennock, a gold-seeker from Michigan who landed on The Spit in 1896 (and by the way, he never found gold). The boardwalks, wharfs and tiny seaside shops reminded us very much of Florida.
But the 54-degree weather in mid-July, snow-capped mountains, and massive glaciers told us that we were in Alaska. Here is a closer photo of the Grewingk Glacier. We had considered a day hike to the glacier, but the only way to reach it was by a $150 ride on a water taxi, which also included a small risk of getting stranded overnight there if bad weather set in.
Fisherman were lined up along the Homer Spit fishing for halibut in Kachemak Bay. The man in the foreground was carrying his boat down to the water piece-by-piece (in this case, his outboard motor), certainly a poor man’s way of launching a boat.
Another way to reach the nearby islands is by sea plane.
The Seafarer’s Memorial is dedicated to all those lost at sea. The nearby bell (on the right in the photo above) has the inscription:, “This bell tolls for all souls set free upon the sea.”
We drove up on the bluff above Homer and captured this panorama of the city, The Spit, Kachemak Bay and the Cook Inlet. Click on the photo for a larger view.