M/V Discovery to Seldovia
Central Charters has been around for more than 25 years. They are located on their own boardwalk about halfway between the Fishing Hole and the end of the Homer Spit. Central Charters is known more for their halibut and salmon fishing trips but they also do tours to Halibut Cove and Seldovia. They can also take you kayaking or bear viewing, and arrange lodging. I was interested in their Seldovia tour, since I wanted to take a cruise over, spend the night, and then flightsee back.
Besides the M/V Tustumena ferry, Central Charters' M/V Discovery is the largest boat that goes to Seldovia; it is a 95 passenger, 75-foot Delta with twin Cat diesel engines. Given there is good weather, the M/V Discovery leaves each day from Memorial Day through Labor Day on a 6-hour roundtrip tour to Seldovia. They depart Homer harbor at 11:00 AM (start to board at 10:30 AM). The cruise passes Gull Island, 60 foot rock, and a smaller rookery where sea otters hang out. Sometimes you may see whales. The cruise then takes you through scenic Eldred Passage and into Seldovia. Going over, the whole cruise takes about 2 hours (BTW, there are restrooms on the boat). You can then tour Seldovia on your own for about 3 hours. The boat departs Seldovia at 4:00 PM and makes a straight run back to Homer to arrive at 5:00 PM. The roundtrip fare for an adult is $48; seniors are $43 and children are $24. There is a one-way fare for $30.
Unfortunately the day I was supposed to go, the weather was bad and the cruise was cancelled. I ended up flying both ways to and from Seldovia. I had bought my M/V Discovery cruise ticket the day before and there was no problem at all in getting a refund. They even helped me get a taxi to the airport where I had already left my rental car.
- Sailing and Boating
- Whale Watching
Rainbow Tours is on the Cannery Row Boardwalk, the last boardwalk before you get to the Seafarer's Memorial. Their shuttle is the cheapest way to get to and from Seldovia. It departs daily from Homer at 9 AM, arriving in Seldovia at 10 AM. It departs Seldovia at 5 PM. A roundtrip is $35 and one-way is $20. I ended up reserving the Central Charters 2-hour cruise since I wanted to do a little sightseeing on the way over, but the Rainbow Tours people were very professional and pleasant to deal with when I talked to them.
- Budget Travel
- Sailing and Boating
Smokey Bay Air
Smokey Bay Air had been recommended to me as a good way to get to Seldovia or flightsee. From their website I noticed that they are owned by Claire McCann and have several woman pilots. My mom would have loved that, since she was a pilot (my dad too). When I made my online reservation, I attached a picture and a note that I have about my mom ( it was quite unusual for a woman to be a pilot in her day). When I went to the Smokey Bay Air office at the airport in Homer, guess what? Her picture and note were on the bulletin board! I must admit it really kind of got to me. Thanks again, Smokey Bay Air, it was very kind of you to remember her. I'll put the note below and include the picture. BTW, not only is Smokey Bar Air thoughtful, but they provide good service at a reasonable price. The roundtrip fare to Seldovia was $76.96.
"Eleanor was a member of the Women’s National Aeronautical Association (WNAA) and flew in their derbies out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She logged over 400 hours in her Ercoupe. One of her first flying derbies was with Dorothy Rice, the “flying grandmother.” They flew from Fort Smith to Memphis to St. Louis to Kansas City and finished in second place. She recalls another later derby (Oct 1952) when she got lost trying to avoid thunderheads. She was 8 months pregnant with her youngest son, Roger. The route was from Oklahoma City to Raton, NM, to Kansas City. She was following the river and had stopped in Woodward, OK. She then encountered a storm with huge thunderhead clouds. First, she tried to fly over the storm but decided it was too dangerous and she got scared. Recovering her senses, she landed in Clayton, NM. From there, she called home and her husband, W. R., came to Clayton and flew with her to Kansas City."
We needed to get to Homer from Seward, Alaska, so we looked into our various options. We could take the Alaskan Ferry, but that would take a day and a half. Driving was an option - the driving time is 4 hours, but we didn't feel like renting a car. We chose to take the very scenic rail trip from Seward to Anchorage and then we flew to Homer via Era Aviation. It was a longer route, for sure, but it was relaxing and very scenic. I wouldn't have passed up that rail trip from Seward to Anchorage for anything.
The Homer airport apparently has not heard there is a war on terrorism. For the first time in a long time, I did not have to take my shoes off to get onto a plane. You simply board the plane. I can't even recall having to show ID.
When you fly into Homer, you'll notice immediately how tiny the airport is. This photo shows the entire Homer airport terminal. Not just part of it. This is the ENTIRE terminal. Difficult to lose your kids in this airport.
To get to the Kachemak Bay State Park or Wilderness Park, you'll need to hire a water taxi. Our lodge arranged transporation with Mako's Water Taxi in Homer. You'll be spirited around the bay in a very funky looking boat - something you'd expect to see in a children's picture book.
Mako's is more than a taxi service. They will also rent kayaks and arrange for guided tours throughout the bay. This is so Homer. No one limits their business to just one activity. Why, I'll bet Mako's would whip out a jar of salmonberry jelly if you asked for it.
Car rental - luggage storage
We were booked on a 3:15 pm flight from Homer to Anchorage, but got to the airport too early to check our luggage. We thought perhaps we could just walk to "downtown" Homer (wherever that is) with our luggage in tow until we saw just how far away downtown was. Next best thing - we rented a car for a few hours, and tooled around town in our little Chevy with suitcases on our laps.
The car rental business is not a huge operation in Homer. There were a total of four rental cars in the lot. Here we are, trying to cram all our luggage into the largest car Homer had available.
Rental rates in Homer are not cheap. We had to pay quite a bit more than we typically do in any other US city. But it was worth it. Because of how spread out Homer is, we would not have been able to see much of Homer without a car.
Come and Visit ME in Kodiak
Homer is a ferry ride away from my home in Kodiak. So don't think that this is as far as you can go. Take your car on the ferry and visit myself and Herzog63 and DustyLane on Beautiful Kodiak Island. We will make you feel most welcome.
Alaska Marine Highway
P.O. Box 703, Kodiak, AK 99615
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Not for the faint of heart
While at the scenic overlook, we first heard, then saw this guy flying around in an ultralight aircraft. If you are experienced in flying untralights, there is a listing in the Homer directory for an ultralight business.
I have never tried this form of transportation, and it seems a bit scary to me, considering the winds is Alaska, but if you crave adventure . . .
Midnight Sun Ultralight
P O Box 457
Homer, AK 99603
- Road Trip
- Hang Gliding