Tag Archives: wildlife

Seward, Alaska

The official motto of Seward: Alaska Starts Here


Seward Marina

I was finally able to escape for a few days and get some fishing in, so some friends and I headed south to Seward to chase some cohos. The silver run was winding down, but we still hit some pockets, and had a great day out on the water.


Resurrection Bay

Seward’s population is just over 2500, but it swells during the summer with people coming to fish or just see the sights. As many as 40,000 come into the tiny port town for the July 4th festivities, which include the running of Mount Marathon.

In 1793, Alexander Baranov started a fur trading post at Resurrection Bay, where the city now stands. Seward is Mile 0 for the historic Iditarod Trail. In 1964, the city was virtually destroyed by the Good Friday Earthquake, which struck Alaska. Much of the damage was caused by the tsunami that hit immediately after the shaker.


The Catch

As recently as 2011, Seward was the ninth most profitable fishing port in the U.S. We did all right for a late run. Most of the salmon we caught were silvers, but we hooked into a few pinks as well. In an unfortunate turn, one member of the boat caught a puffin. The first time I had seen that happen. The puffin was deep, probably after some of the chum in the water, and I think everyone was surprised to see feathers break the surface of the water, and not scales, when the puffin was reeled in. We brought the bird on board, and I held the colorful diver, while the boat’s captain removed the hook from its wing. Once released, the puffin flew off with no signs of distress.

After a day of fishing, we hit Thorn’s Showcase Lounge. I apologize to Thorn’s: the first time I saw the building, I immediately thought it was a strip club, and not wholly due to the sign out front that reads: “Bucket of Butts”. Thorn’s does serve up the best halibut in Seward, and they have an extensive collection of old liquor bottles in all shapes and sizes.


Thorn’s: Where it’s 1968 all day, every day.


Wild Alaska Salmon Day

It’s Wild Alaska Salmon Day and the cohos are starting to run. Grab those rods and get yourself out to your favorite body of water today!


Walrus Cam


Getting cozy on Round Island

Walrus Cam on Round Island

This is one I didn’t know about: explore.org has a Walrus Cam out on Round Island in Alaska’s beautiful Bristol Bay. The Alaska Fish & Game offers walrus viewing permits between May 1 – August 15, which begs the question: How many do they issue?

As many as 14,000 walruses have been counted on Round Island at one time. If you go, you will also see tens of thousands of seabirds.

Before clicking on the link above, I should warn you that the Walrus Cam does not have the action of the Katmai Bear Cam. No salmon jumping, or bears catching salmon mid-air.

I will say that a walrus sure knows how to relax when visiting Alaska.

Photo & cam credit: explore.org


A bear walks into a liquor store…

Roger Thibodeau posted this video of a bear walking into his Juneau liquor store around 8:30am Friday morning. I appreciate the bruin taking its time to make a decision at the candy rack: “Do I feel like a Kit-Kat, or am I hungry for a Snickers? I can be a real bear to be around when I’m hungry.”
Unfortunately, the bear was shooed off before he decided.

After leaving the liquor store, the bear wandered over to Harri Plumbing and Heating, next door.


Peaceful Swim


Egret


St Joseph Peninsula State Park

Saving the best for last…

Beach on Gulf side

On the second test run with the 300, I swung over to Florida’s panhandle, to do some beach side camping. This state park is on a peninsula, which drew me to it in the first place. On one side is the Gulf of Mexico, and on the other St Joseph Bay and mainland Florida.

Camping with the 300
300 camping. Proof that it made it out of the shop.

This may have been my favorite of all of the Florida parks. I absolutely loved the place. I had a nice, relatively secluded campsite, and wonderful weather. It has been several years since I fell to sleep to the sound of the pounding surf.

Swamp & pines

The beach walking was fantastic, and in the first few hours after dawn, it was just the birds and I out on the sand. There is also a great nature trail that runs down the center of the peninsula, that was well worth the hike. It took me most of one day to walk the entire beach on the Gulf side.

Sand dunes

Between the beach and the pines are some beautiful sand dunes. Like the beach, the dunes are constantly changing their form. A boardwalk runs over the dunes, to try to limit the damage done by thousands of feet.

Gull on beach

I saw tons of gulls & terns, a few pelicans, several sleek, black snakes, and one deer. I also heard the raccoon break into another camper’s cooler and steal their fish bait. In the afternoon, there were several people fishing the surf from the beach.

St Joseph Peninsula
St Joseph Peninsula from air. Photo credit: Florida Parks

I had a great time hiking the beach. The waves were really pounding on day 1, and slightly less on day 2. The day prior to my arrival, there were tornadoes and thunderstorms across the entire area. It must have been pretty wild out there when those went across. By the day I left, the Gulf had calmed down considerably. The peninsula is a tad out of the way, but well worth the effort. Plus, it’s a damn nice drive to get there.