I’m back from Alaska, and while there were a few weather-related disappointments, the trip was a smashing success. My dad, brothers and I had a great time and we fished for 6 days straight. We brought home a whopping 262 lbs of sockeye salmon and halibut! Our freezer is full—friends, please come join us for one heck of a fish dinner, whenever you can!
When the salmon are running, the Kenai Peninsula is one of nature’s truly amazing spectacles. Hundreds of thousands of fish swim up the river each day, and thousands of anglers await them with rod and hook. It’s certainly an imposing gauntlet these fish must run, but a huge number successfully reach their final spawning grounds. As a result, the ecosystem is largely healthy with the exception of the king (Chinook) salmon that didn’t come back in numbers sufficient to allow anglers to take fish from the river this year.
While fishing for halibut in the Cook Inlet, rough seas prevented us from going too far out, but when we did stop to fish, the action was pretty much non-stop. Seemingly every time the sinker hit bottom, within moments, there was a bite and one of us had to jump on the rod and reel in another halibut. It all happened so fast that I forgot to even take my camera out while on the boat! Within 45 minutes, our group of 6 had caught our limit of two fish each, and 4 more fish for the captain and first mate (more on him to come in a later post).
On the downside, my usual good luck with weather came to an end on this trip, likely because Cassie and I have tempted the Weather Gods over the past couple weeks. First, Cassie complained about always having clear skies in our travels which makes for boring photography. Then, I said the weather in Alaska was “amazing” in the summer. As for the former, the Weather Gods’ Ironic Punishment Division said, “You like clouds, do you? Have all the clouds in the WORLD!!!” And of course, a small amount of research would have informed me that the Anchorage area was suffering through its coldest summer on record. Oops.
The weather doesn’t matter much when you’re fishing, but when it finally came time for our bear flyout to Katmai Peninsula, rain and wind kept us grounded. Then, for an encore the next day, our boat tour of the Kenai Fjords was cut short by a 7 foot swell. Like our halibut fishing, we were kept in the inner bay for fear of everyone tossing their cookies and turning green. My promised photographic triumphs largely didn’t pan out, and if you’re reading this and thinking of going to Alaska, I’m working on another post focusing on tips to prevent this sort of thing from happening to you while you’re here. It’s quite easy. Bottom line, we were dumb about it. I always travel smarter when I’m with Cassie.
Oh, and speaking of dumb, get this. I went to the airport without my wallet. Let me say that one more time in case you missed it. I went to the *airport* … without my wallet!!! Of course, for those of you reading this who know me personally (Hi, mom!), you’re probably not surprised by this at all. Long story short, it happened because I thought I had 20 more minutes to pack, but Cassie, who was driving me to the airport in San Francisco (about a 50 minute drive from our house), found out she needed to show up for jury duty in just over an hour. In other words, two 50 minute drives in 1 one hour. Suddenly, my leisurely packing, following my trusty-dusty packing list, became a frantic rush out the door.
Anyways, to get on a plane without an ID, the nice folks at the TSA pull you aside and ask you a series of questions to which only you would know the answer. First question: Are you some kind of damned moron?!? I know it sounds silly, but I’m actually adding “wallet” to that packing list.
Even still, I have a lot of awesome pictures and memories from this trip. I’ll have more fishing and wildlife pictures, and a few more stories as well. So stay tuned!