Getting on/off motorcoach; drive to Homer is 75 miles, approximately 1.5 hours, each way. Naturalist-led walk at the Islands & Ocean Visitor Center is 1.5 miles on gravel and boardwalk, approximately 1 hour. Standing for 45 minutes on a floating dock at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. Walking on uneven terrain at the Ninilchik Russian cemetery. Dressing in layers, comfortable shoes, and rain gear is recommended as there is considerable outdoor programming today.
Breakfast buffet at our hotel.
This morning we'll make our way to Homer, situated on Kachemak Bay with an incredible panoramic view of mountains, snowy peaks, and glaciers, with our Group Leader providing expert commentary along the way. At the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center, a naturalist will lead us on a walk along stunning Kachemak Bay, part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. We'll learn about the natural history of the area, with opportunities for bird and plant identification. Afterwards, stroll through the indoor interactive exhibits, watch a short film, or choose to continue exploring interpretive trails on the Center's sixty-acre site. Next we'll visit the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. Their mission is to bring the coastal ecology to everyone! Learn about sea life in the bay through their presentation on creatures of the dock. We’ll then get down to the docks to see and handle some of these creatures.
We'll continue our travels down the Homer Spit, a long strip of land that stretches into the bay to the town docks for lunch at a local restaurant, enjoying views of fishing boats and wildlife. Order from a select menu offering soups, salads, and sandwiches, plus coffee, tea (hot/iced), water.
After lunch we'll stay in town for a visit to the Pratt Museum for a self-led exploration, including short videos and exhibits on the Kachemak Bay region of Alaska. Exhibits focus on art, natural history, Native cultures, homesteading, fishing and marine ecology. The adjacent Harrington Cabin reflects the life of early pioneers with hand tools, diaries, needlework and kitchen supplies. Outside the house is a small garden with a variety of produce, staples of the early settlers. Following our visit here, we'll head back to Soldotna, making a stop in the Russian-influenced community of Ninilchik overlooking the Cook Inlet. It is the oldest settlement on the Kenai Peninsula. The Russian-American Company established Ninilchik in the 1820s to house its employees who were unable to travel back to Russia due to age or health after completing their work with the company. Eventually others of Russian descent settled in the area and remained after Russia sold Alaska to the United States in 1867. The descendants of these early settlers make up the majority of its current population. We'll visit the Russian Orthodox church, built in 1901, and the town's cemetery to learn about the Russian culture that still survives. After our exploration we'll continue to Soldotna.
At a local restaurant in a private meeting space, we will have a choice of local entree, plus coffee, tea, water.
At your leisure. Prepare for checkout tomorrow morning.