Saturday, July 6, 2013

Charter Time!

Woohoo! 5:45 am and time to head to the harbor! Got our snacks, our fishing licenses, our rubber boots, and (importantly) our raingear. Good thing we had it too- I think we encountered just about every kind of rain that day haha...

Leaving the harbor and heading toward the waters off LaTouche Island.
The scenery was beautiful despite the rain- and we got an added bonus of
seeing humpback whales and harbor porpoises!

Fish on!

Vince vs. halibut... and flounder, and cod! Those flounder were major 
thieves- and they gave us quite a workout checking our bait! At the start of the
day I was hoping for a monster, but after a few hours of battling flounder and
checking my bait, I was re-thinking my trophy dream... my arms were
getting smoked!! :p

Victory! Vince got one of the best fish of the day :) I got two
'butts as well, and we ended up with a good 30 pounds of yummy fillets- success!

...and a few days later, here's some of our catch: poached halibut
cheeks over an Alfredo risotto- YUM!

Arrival In Whittier

Time for some summer fishing! I had a trip for Vince & I booked since early spring, so we were stoked to finally head to Whittier for some halibut. Not to mention I had heard that the drive to Whittier is amazing- you actually drive through a 2.6 mile long tunnel through a mountain to get there. Very cool...

In line to drive through the tunnel

Getting closer

Around 2 miles in, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel ;)

Made it! Time to find our B&B...

...uh- is this right?

Did we just step into an Alfred Hitchcock movie??

Oh- you just have to go to the 15th floor to check in with
the B&B owner...

Security cam in the elevator...

Almost there... Vince & I finally found June (the owner) who
(thankfully!!!) was super nice and very welcoming. Whew- it was nice to put our 
minds at ease after the creepy trip to find the office!!!

Yay- our room

Much warmer on the inside!

The kitchen

Our room

Nice glacier and waterfall views from our living room :)
Time to hit the town...

Whittier is pretty small, so Vince & I decided to walk to the
harbor/downtown area

Which entailed taking the pedestrian walkway through a 
culvert tunnel underneath the railroad tracks... was a little eerie
to walk by a solitary guy sitting there reading "Beowulf"...

Found the charter check-in :)

...and a little Coast Guard Auxiliary station

Now for some food! We stopped into Swiftwater Seafood
for some warming clam chowder and fresh caught halibut fish
& chips. Great local atmosphere and friendly service!

Our next stop was the local "museum" (located in a wing of
a hotel/grocery store haha); it was definitely eclectic, but we learned
some really interesting things about the town's history

Very intriguing

Like the Begich Towers (where we stayed), the Buckner Building
was another establishment built for war-related housing- neat! Unfortunately,
the Buckner Building is now in ruins (not to mention foreboding!)

Just about time to get ready for our early-morning fishing trip- after
we got a closer look at one of the gorgeous waterfalls behind our building :)

Valley Trip

Thinking about all the places in Alaska that I haven't really seen, I realized I had never really spent much time in Palmer and Wasilla- two cities in the Matanuska valley. So, I decided to take Vince to the valley and check out a few of the sites...

The Reindeer Farm in Palmer- very informative and fun

...the check-in cabin

Wow! This guy was a big surprise- literally! The Reindeer
Farm took in an orphaned bull moose and raised him; now
he has a family and is docile as Marmaduke hehe

Greeting the kids

... moosing around

Reindeer time- I was blown away with how docile they were!
All you need is a little reindeer kibble, and you are BFFs :)

This big male was called John Deer

Time to visit the Iditarod Trail Headquarters in Wasilla

A little history...

OMG- puppies!!!

...yeah- I did not want to leave!!

So cute!!

The worker bees taking a break. Great visit to the Valley!

Heading Home

After our lovely trip to the Peninsula, it was time to head home... but we had to make a few stops on the way :)

The view from a tiny bridge over Canyon Creek

Caribou at the Wildlife Conservation Center on Turnagain Arm

Brown bears!

Magnificent animals

Alaska's state bird

Baby musk ox

Sitka black-tailed deer

Time for dinner! I surprised Vince with a stop at the Double 
Musky Inn- one of America's top restaurants

Outside view

Eclectic and Creole-inspired interior

Cajun food at it's finest- awesome jambalaya, and a great end to the day