A storm at sea, fishing, hunting, and wrestling a halibut. This trip had something for everyone.
In this episode, Larre describes a hunting and fishing trip on the Best Friends. Most of our fishing and whale videos take place in this region of Kodiak, Raspberry and Afognak Islands, so a geography lesson may come in handy for future reference.
Cruising out of St. Paul Harbor, we pass under a high bridge that connects Kodiak Island to Near Island, the location of one of two Kodiak boat harbors and the seaplane base. We head east between Kodiak and Woody Island then turn north to Spruce Cape and Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site. During World War II this was an outpost to guard against invading enemy ships.
We turn west to round Spruce Cape and head into Ouzinkie Narrows, running between Kodiak to the south and Spruce Island to the north. Ouzinkie is a village near the west end of Spruce Island, and residents commute by small boat between the two towns.
Coming out of the Narrows we enter Marmot Bay. From here we can turn south along the west coast of Kodiak Island, cruising to Anton Larsen Bay and, beyond that, Sharatine Bay. Villagers from Port Lions (see map below) can boat to Anton Larsen Bay boat launch and catch a taxi to travel the gravel road 40 minutes over the mountains and into the city of Kodiak.
Looking west across Marmot Bay, we see a big white splotch on the cliff face of Whale Island. As we approach the island, a cloud of birds swarms the cliffs from a huge kittiwake rookery. The only gull species that nests exclusively on cliffs, kittiwake chicks instinctively sit very still in their nests so they don't fall to their doom.
Cruising west through Whale Pass, we can turn north to Raspberry Strait, a shortcut at high tide to the west side of Afognak Island. The Best Friends waited out a storm here in Malka Bay (off Malina Bay).
If we continue west after exiting Whale Pass, we cruise along Kupreanof Straight and the south coast of Raspberry Island, passing Onion Bay and arriving at Shelikof Strait. My first view from here of the Alaska Peninsula's Aleutian Mountain Range made me gasp, startling our son Bill who thought I'd caught my finger in a fish hook or some other dire catastrophe. The peninsula is home to many active volcanoes and the famous brown bears of Katmai National Park and Preserve.
Pods of whales and porpoises; flocks of puffins, geese, ducks and gulls; rafts of sea otters; herds of elk and deer; dens of black, silver and red foxes. It's a dazzling trip.
Here are Larre's recommendations for fishing and a new gadget for distance photography with your phone. We talked about the Wonderland Trail at Mt. Rainier Park, so here's a book with photos, maps and tips.