“The reason Vagabonding is so appealing is that it promises to show you the destinations and experiences you’ve dreamed about; but the reason vagabonding is so addictive is that, joyfully, you’ll never quite find what you dreamed of.” The best travel experiences are the accidental ones or those that seemed like obstacles but turn into the better stories. Like hurricanes in Tonga…
Nothing makes me happier than planning a trip. When I booked Alaska, I also booked Vietnam for October. After talking to a new friend, I decided to change direction, so I cancelled my flights to Vietnam. Now I am waiting for the miles to go back into my account so I can book Lebanon. It might be too long in one place, but I’ll decide those things later.
My fortune from a Chinese restaurant.
I woke up early and waited for the call from the airline tour. They called and gave me the sad news that the planes wouldn’t be flying. Janet was my back up plan so now I am in her car looking for bears. Took this photo just in case
So no bears this trip but we tried. Janet and her other passenger and I drove back and forth on Anton passageway and then to some river mouths. It was a pretty rainy day so I was happy to be in the car since I had to check out of the cabin. Headed to the airport to fly to Anchorage and had a very long layover at the airport. Luckily I had a first class ticket so I could hang out in the lounge. And as I mentioned on a previous blog, judging people can some times surprise you. The woman who was in front of me in security, with a broken wheel on her bag and holding up the line ended up sitting next to me in the lounge. We had a couple hour chat. She lives in Point Loma and is super fun. Flight finally left at 2am. Flew to Portland, then Everett and then home. Slept in the airports. On the flight to SAN, I had fun chatting with a fellow traveler. Maybe we will meet somewhere. It was a great trip and I look forward to returning to Alaska.
Slept really well, as long as I didn’t face the window to the left. Why don’t they have rooms darkening curtains? Just as I was supposed to get started, the Bear people called, Kodiak is fogged in. Maybe later today. I was so disappointed. Hopefully later or tomorrow before I leave. A quick breakfast at the cabin, then back on the bike, in the rain, to the Aquarium, back over the bridge. So fast to travel by electric bike. I was up to 25 mph yesterday. The Aquarium has some touch and feel tanks and several narratives of marine life in Alaska. Loud children. But cool pictures through the glass.Still biking in the rain. Stopped by the Aluttiiq museum. Interesting people that arrived in Kodiak 7000 years ago. Mostly it was about the sad effects of the Valdez oil spill in 1989. So disruptive to the ecosystem.
I am starting to get bored. I have pretty much done or tried to do every I can. Hadn’t been to the Kodiak Brewing Company yet. Stopped, just beer, no food, looking for soup. No humans either so I rode over to a Chinese restaurant for soup and more writing. The Bear viewing is rescheduled until tomorrow morning. Hope the weather is ok. Looks like rain to me.
After lunch I rode the bike back to the cabin to read and relax. Soon John came by to get his bike. Took a little nap and then walked to the Sushi Restaurant. The walk came with a facial not terrible rain but enough. Reordered the beef tartar and some Halibut. Beef was good Halibut disappointing. Back to the cabin in the rain. I miss the bike but enjoy the walking . Time for bed.
I woke early to go to the Morning Rotary Club of Kodiak. It was a 45 minute sunny walk. It’s very peaceful. I don’t know why I don’t walk more in Coronado, like how about walking to work??? The meeting was held at the Best Western. They have about 30 members, pretty gray just like ours. Their club is a break off from their noon club which is 77 years old. The meeting structure was pretty much the same but they held a 50/50 raffle that you bought tickets and then a pot was passed around to add more money to the raffle. People said what they were thankful for or congratulated me for being there. The program was an engineer talking about water projects that he had students involved with. It was very interesting. Everyone was kind and helpful which is why I love to go. One man gave me his pilots friend name.
I waited outside in the morning sun for my new friend, John, to let me know if he was working or not. He is a firefighter/drone photographer. I was trying to text him when he pulled up on the other side of the road. Yes, Mother, I did talk to strangers and even got into his truck. The night before I did get his last name and googled him. Everything checked out. He needed coffee so we went to the place that I had went to the first day. The owner came out to say hi to John and looked at me a little curiously, so I told him that John just picked me up and that I was a hitchhiker. He wasn’t surprised but he let me know that John was ok.
We drove by the house he owns and currently rents out and then up the hill which used to be his playground as a child. The views were spectacular.
We drove back down the hill/mountain. He actually had some work to do filming a house that is under construction, a massive house. We drove towards the airport. It has three runways because of the ever changing weather. He pointed out the Coast Guard facilities when he first lived with his family. The scenery was so lush and green. He was even impressed as a near native. There are three bays that have fresh water streams running into the ocean. This would were the bears will be soon. The first of the salmon are coming back. So the place where the mansion was being built was out at the tip of a peninsula, another place that John and his friends would explore as young kids with three wheelers and kayaks. There were no less than 25 vehicles on the project for one house and one cabin. The owner is quite wealthy and lives in Anchorage. He wanted live video of the construction and John even took the drone inside the house at a previous filming. It was interesting to see how the drone worked. The view from this house is both the planes and boats coming in and the incredible landscape of Kodiak. He promised me footage after he did some editing.
We headed for one of his favorite places called Pasagshak. Along the way we passed the three bays; Sister Bay, Middle Bay and Kalsin Bay. He was deeply upset with the logging that had gone on along the way. The landscape, the clarity and freshness was breathtaking. We went down by the beach and walked around saw some wild buffalo. The buffalo and deer were brought in years ago for extra food sources just in case of being cut off from the lower 48, natural disaster or war. Kodiak supplies it own water and electricity too. Next was the Kodiak Launch Site for rockets. There are Israeli people here to launch them, not sure why, but the locals are afraid that this beautiful area will be cut off from the public.
Beautiful ride back to town, lots of great conversation.
He stopped on the way back so he could fly the drone and I could wear a head set and see where he was going. He took the drown up and down a river to look for bears, still none to be seen but it was a very cool experience. We drove back the same way and he asked if I was interested in borrowing his ex girlfriends electric mountain bike. Of course!
I drove up the hill to a Filipino food truck.
Ride the rest of the way to my cabin and got out of all the cold weather gear. Love my long underwear! Relaxed on the Port has with egg rolls and Sauvignon Blanc basking in the sun. Seemed a lot warmer than 55.
John stopped by with a lock and battery. Then it was time to explore. Don’t go jumping to conclusions girls.
I rode out to Spruce Cape and then Fort Abercrombie State Park. Great views along the way.
Lots of Packer fans.
Love the bike in the tree!
And fascinated by the moss in the pine treesCute little play house by a pond.
My friends John and Nick texted, they were done with their softball game so we met for drinks at Tony’s, a bar that is an institution. Lots of interesting people. Again, reminding me that in Alaska, the odds are good but the good are odd.
Needed to get ready for my bear watching in the morning. Yes the Bears still suck.
Last night before I went to bed I covered the window over my bed with dark towels, then stripped down the bed to see the mattress pad, it was way too cold and noisy. It was a bed bug allergy thing so I took it off and was happy to see and smell a clean mattress. I slept much better.
Early morning alarm and the sun was out! I hurried to get ready so that I could take some photos on my 30 min walk to the dock. It’s nice to be able to make some coffee and have some eggs, my usual breakfast. Debated on what to wear, prob no rain but windy on the boat. Layers and hiking boots since I planned to hike after the boat. Met Janet and the couple from Indiana and then our Captain. It was to be a 90 min bout tour. It’s was a lovely morning. We saw several birds, sea otters, deer, both species of Puffins, sea lions and sea planes taking off. It was a perfect morning. I took some great shots but will add some other photos from Janet.
The Captain John works at Short Haul Nautico Sea Kodiak. They can be reached at 9074863360 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This is Janet Rose from our adventure yesterday. She was an awesome guide!
Janet’s tour is Kodiak Wildlife Tours. She takes you to see wildlife in Kodiak. She definitely goes the extra mile. Just tell her what you want to see and she will do her best to make it happen. Her number is 907-512-9453 and her website is kodiakwildlifetours.com
And she is an amazing photographer.
After saying goodbye to my new friends I walked towards town. I walked to the dock, checking out the boats and looking for more sea otters. Seeing none I decided to go back to the Aquamarine Cafe for some coffee. Lots of fishermen. It was too early to start my hike so I decided to have some lunch. It’s is a very strange menu but a lot of Greek food. I had some gyro dish on top of some fries. Forgot a picture for my foodie friends but it was called Mount Olympus. Couldn’t hardly make a dent. So time for my hike. I had to find the bridge to cross the channel to Near Island. There was a park called Rotary Park which ended up to be Rotary Gazebo at the top of the hill. No one was around. I saw the foot print of a human and of a large dog. Beautiful forest
And finally The Gazebo. Not sure that the Coronado Rotarians could hike in the dense woods a half mile up hill, through a running stream, but it was beautiful.
Back down the hill which also was a little bit of a river bed. Then on the the North End Trails. I wanted to get to the water between two land masses before the tide came in. A beautiful hike.
Here the area between the land.
Then back up. Apparently I took the long way down. Back over the bridge
You can jump over on one side but not the other, as in suicide barrier . Then back to the cabin, so ready to get the long underwear off. It was warm!
After a nap I walked back to Hana sushi restaurant. I was hoping to have the “white tuna” that I had a couple night ago but they are out of it. I looked it up, it’s escolar which is also called the Ex-Lax fish. Something with the fish not being able to digest the esters or something. Sorry but it was really good! Tonight I am having some seared tuna and Miso braised cod.
No more sunshine and at 6:30 pm the sun was in the sky like it was 2:30 pm in San Diego. It’s getting colder.
Everyone is very friendly here. Most of the people driving by wave hello. They work really hard during the warmer seasons because there isn’t much going on in winter. There is always fishing and crabbing but no tourists. It seems sad that the big cruise ships come in here. They don’t have enough restaurants and shops, so they go on tours. They are all very expensive. There is a flight to see bears on Katmai, the mainland but it’s to see costal brown bears not Kodiak bears.
Today was such a beautiful day. The mountains were the most perfect color green and the blue sky so clear. I can’t stop taking pictures.
Time to sleep but it’s so light out. This is 10 pm and I could read a book outside better than inside
Here are the two famous churches
This beautiful church, steeped in history going all the way back to the Russian Orthodox missionary monks coming to Kodiak in 1794, is especially blessed to house the relics of St. Herman, the patron saint of Kodiak Island and neighboring Spruce Island where he cared for orphans, spending his last years there.
And this one is All Saints of Alaska Chapel
And some flowers
Kinda crazy trying to sleep when it’s still light out. I chose the wrong bed since it was next to the window. I have the misfortune of having an exaggerated sense of smell so the BO smell in the sheets, pillows and blankets was annoying. So were the plastic covered mattresses. This reminded me of when son, George and I were in Singapore. We stayed at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, to swim in the infinity pool on the 57th floor. Such an amazing experience. So then trying to teach my son balance, the next night we stayed at a very cheap hotel. It also has plastic covered mattresses, and maybe sold the rooms by the hour, if you know what I mean. So, these mattresses are the same, cold and noisy. I was surprised though, that I was warm enough all night. The only heat is in the living room, a space heater that only stays on for 90 minutes at a time.
Early wake up, made some coffee and eggs, actually “worked” a bit, or left a message for my our new website people. Janet, my guide and driver for the day, arrived early.
We stopped for coffee at the same place I was at the day before and then drive around trying to find the other two guests for the tour. They were a couple from Indianapolis and he was a little grumpy. We drove towards the north and east over a mountain to get to the bears. It was on and off rain all day. The beauty of this island is spectacular. It is known as the Emerald Isle and much greener than I remember Ireland. We drove back and forth on a small stretch of beach because this is where a sow (female bear) and her three year old cubs were seen daily at low tide.
Some pics along the way:
No bears for now. It is Anton Larson Bay. This area was also the point where people from Port Lions left their cars after they bought supplies. Then they load the supplies on their boats to take home. They have no other ways to get supplies. Same with Kodiak, they brought Sitka Black Tail deer many years ago to be sure that they had a supply of meat if there was war, earthquake or tsunamis. The last tsunami hit in 1964 and wiped out the town of Port Lions. It was rebuilt with help of the Lions organization.
We saw Three sisters Mountains and Pyramid Mountain. Then on to Buskin river to see where they count the salmon coming back to spawn and die.
Next we drove to see a Bald Eagle and her three babies. No great photos but I loved the trees and moss
Then on to see the Puffins. None to be seen but these flowers were beautiful
And more moss. The bigger the moss is the cleaner the air.
Back to the cabin, but we go try to see the bears tonight. The bears really do still suck!
Some more fav pics
This is the gist of the next book that I am reading. It’s a short book called, “The Adventure Driven Life, Part 1, Awaken the Bear.”
I am an adventurer. Today when it was raining, I put my rain gear on and walked a couple miles to town for dinner. A tourist would stay in or call a cab. I went to Hana Sushi bar. Had some great food. It was busy because of Fathers Day. Had some rare beef with julienned apples and ponzu. Amazing!
And then some sashimi. The white tuna was the best sushi that I have ever had.
It was still early so I decided to walk a little further, past the Old Orthodox Churches and was headed to one place but then decided on Tony’s Bar. Walked in and took a seat. What was I doing? Kinda a dive bar, filled with locals. I ordered a drink and really wanted to pull out my phone and read a book but I just looked around and had fun observing people. There were a few very drunk men. I was going to leave and then I decided to have another drink. The bartender said that a man across the bar wanted to buy my drink….ok no big deal, she pointed him out. Looked normal. A few minutes later he came over and asked if I wanted to sit with him and his friends. I did and we had a lot of fun. There were three of them and they were all natives of Kodiak. We had a lot of laughs. Took a cab home and waiting for it to get dark! Not for a few more hours. Hoping the bears come out to play tomorrow. The Chicago Bears still suck though!
I went to sleep when it was still light out and it seemed to be light all night, but it could have been the street lights. The shared bathroom wasn’t so bad. It was very clean but I couldn’t fathom taking a shower in it. I woke up earlier than my alarm as I usually do when I am on vacation. Quick trip to the airport, a little coffee and on to Kodiak. I am surprised by the many cultures here. And the amount of families traveling to Kodiak. I also sat next to a woman on the flight Dallas to Anchorage that did some interesting travels to Africa. She is an anesthesiologist in Dallas and goes in some missions. She had recently been to Uganda and also Kenya. We shared our African experiences. She was on the plane with her husband and some young adult children. We exchanged number so we could share our Alaska stories.
Arrived in Kodiak on time and tried to get an Uber or Lyft. Apparently not here yet so I went outside and found a taxi. “Tim”, aka “Ling Ling” drove me through the two block, seemingly deserted downtown and to my cabin. It’s a sunny 50 degree day. The cabin, called Bunk House B is a two room cabin. Sleeps 4. Homey touches of a bearskin on the wall and several mounted animals.
There is a heater that stays on for about 90 minutes at a time. It’s a little chilly but I am always cold anyway. It will be interesting sleeping since that blankets are pretty thin.
Unpacked and decide to have a look around my new neighborhood. No one is around. It’s so quiet. The cabin is not on the waters edge but close to it. Here’s the view.
I decided that I needed coffee and water better place than a Fly In coffee shop over looking a lake. I walked up the hill, stopped at a viewing deck for ducks. Took this picture.and a few others…
Then I must have gotten too close to a Crows nest. This crow was dive bombing me. It was after me for about a minute. I finally put up my hood and it stopped. The coffee place was about 1.5 miles away. Got some coffee and watched the lake. No float planes but I finished a good book that I had started the day before. It’s such a treat for me to read a whole book in such a short period of time. No gluten free food so I decided to walk the 2 miles into town.
Saw this beautiful plane and wished to be in it. Maybe later this week.
Walked a little past the downtown area. Saw that there is a Rotary Club meeting on Wed am so I might go.
Walked along the harbor, checking out all the fishing boats. The town seems really quiet, not sure if it’s because it’s Sunday or Fathers Day or just early. Not much was open so I popped into the Aquamarine Cafe for some breakfast.
Was debating walking back to the cabin but decided to get some groceries. I called Tim the taxi driver and he took me to the Safeway, several miles out of town, waited and then took me to my cabin. There is a Safeway and a Walmart, so I assume they pushed out a lot of the smaller businesses.
More reading and a well needed nap.