Story by

Brittany Tran

July 26th, 2016

We did not know what we were getting ourselves into when we booked our Alaska vacation. All we had in mind were mountains, glaciers, and a whole lot of greenery and wildlife. We were definitely in for a trip once we landed in Homer.

Planning really goes a long way when you have the right gadget and websites aiding your entire trip. (Praise the digital gods!) "Where land ends and sea begins," lies the very quaint and quiet town of Homer, Alaska, with a population of just a little over 5,000 people. Upon entering, you are greeted with a sign that reads "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." There were many world records proudly listed; from 'longest road into the ocean waters in the world,' to the largest caught salmon. There is also, of course, a record 482-pound halibut caught in their waters. But to us, it represented much more. This unique little town completely changed our unenlightened perspective of the Alaskan culture.

It started with the best tour we'd ever been on - the Seaside Adventure tour with Rick and Dorla on Tutka Bay. We drove from Girdwood and arrived at Homer around 8:30pm, with the sun sitting just above the sea. The sky was lit a glorious shade of blue. We were hungry, so we drove straight to the Spit and set our appetite on seafood. Upon reaching the city of Homer, the spit was an additional 20 minutes out. There were ship docks, beaches, campgrounds, restaurants, gift shops, and bars all down the both sides of the road. There were tiny little homes converted into restaurants and old, abandoned ships left astray, along with tons (I mean TONS!) of campers everywhere.

We ate dinner, then went to check out our bed and breakfast. We attempted to sleep while there was still daylight in order to prepare ourselves for an early rise the next morning.

The tour was so unique for us because it was like an interactive seaside classroom. We came across the business online, which is run by Rick and Dorla Harness. "Seaside will turn the bay into an interactive classroom, covering everything from archaeology and geology to cultural and natural history on your full-day paddle. These long-time Alaskans share where secret treasures lie, what it's like to live on the bay, and how to make a meal from wild ingredients."

We met with our water taxi at the Spit's ship dock. The trip took 30 minutes from Kachemak bay to Tutka Bay. At the bay, we met with two of Rick and Dorla's assistants (they're from the WOOF program!) They prepared us with wet boots and took us straight to their INCREDIBLE cabin.

Our tour was from 9am - 5pm. We were exhausted by the end of the day! Rick and Dorla were such a delight to be around. They had a wealth of knowledge, and we learned so much of the Native Alaskan culture, marine life, geology, and archaeology. They were true naturalists! This trip has inspired Scout tremendously. She went from being terrified of being on the boat to eventually telling the captain, "Go faster!"

We've been back about five days now, and she still speaks of the sea otters and sea stars, with drawings all across her journal!

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