Sunday, November 23, 2014

September 1, 2014 Afognak Island

Chrissy standing in downtown Kodiak waiting for our pilot to pick us up and take us to Afognak.

It was a chilly morning so while the pilot warmed up his plane, I took a few shots around the airport.

It is always fun to see views from above...

...these were taken on our flight to Seal Bay on Afognak Island.

After checking into our cabin, we headed down to the dock for our guided trip around the area.

Since we were the only guests not fishing today, we had our own private guide, Jordan. It turns out Jordan's grandfather started this lodge as his home back in the 1950's.

We cruised past our cabin...

...and were welcomed by some of the local residents. I am not joking. There are no people living anywhere near this place. 

It was a beautiful day to be out on the water.

This was a very relaxing way to spend a day...just cruising around Afognak Island...with Jordan sharing stories about this amazing place.

We saw otters everywhere.

Jordan asked us if we'd like to hike up to see an eagle nest with young eagles born earlier this year. So we docked on this beach....

...and stepped into a magical place. The moss covered forest looked like something from a fairy tale. The soft permafrost ground and the incredible beauty of the forest made this hike like no other I've ever been on. It looked like a scene from the Hobbit movies.

There were also a lot of Dr. Seuss looking trees. 

As soon as we walked out onto the cliffs, mom and dad spotted us...

...when Jordan said baby eagles I was expecting something a little less dangerous and a little more cuter than these two nearly full sized eagles.

Jordan & Chrissy with the eagle nest behind them.

Chrissy used a new camera I bought to take pictures at concerts to zoom in to get these great shots.

Views from the cliff

I couldn't stop taking pictures on our hike back down to the boat. It was like hiking on another planet to me. 

It's always nice to see your boat is still on the beach when you return.

Chrissy spotted these bones on the beach.

Back on the water with something to see around every curve of the island.

Seals relaxing in the sun...I was doing the same thing on the boat.

By this point of the day, we had seen lots of whales off in the distance but they never reappeared after our initial viewing. That change with this humpback whale.

This boat was great for shore landings...

...Jordan tried to teach me some sailor knots but I was better suited for carrying the anchor on to the beach.

Once again we hiked through the funky woods. This time to a small boathouse the lodge has on an inland lake.

We were searching for bears. Chrissy told Jordan she came to see bears. He told her she would definitely see bears...

...but not on this little adventure across the lake to a salmon stream.

We docked the boat and my knot tying skills improved slightly.

We headed back to the lodge after a perfect day of adventure and relaxation. Alaska is an amazing place and I quickly understood why getting further into the wilderness was worth the extra cost. There are so few unspoiled places left in the world...a visit to any one of them is worth your time and effort.

More guests arrived at the dock at the same time we did.

I watched Jordan and Frank fillet the salmon caught by the guys that went fishing today.
I met one of the fishermen named Reinhardt. He was a character...told me about his family leaving Germany when he was five to come to America while the fish was processed.

While I was on the dock, Chrissy took pictures around the lodge. Yes they have their own saw mill. You have to be self sufficient out here. It is a three hour boat ride to Kodiak.

After an entertaining and amazing meal in the main lodge, Chrissy & I walked around the lodge.

This bear was nice enough to pose with us.

The sun set along the back side of the lodge...

...with the half moon rising. A great way to end our first day in paradise.

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