Saturday, August 16, 2008

Our first trip across the Bay...

It is only 3 and a half miles across Kachemak Bay from Coal Point at the end of the Homer Spit.

But we have found that a lot of "conditions" can develop during the one hour paddle across to Mckeon Spit and Haystack Rock.

The first challenge is just getting away from the Homer Spit and all the boats that are streaming out of the small boat harbor on a nice day. Boats of all sizes heading in all directions seem to wait until we are about 100 feet out from shore before they fire up and blast by us creating waves and lots of aprehension for paddlers.

On the day that we finally got our nerve up to paddle across for an overnight at the Haystack
yurt even the Alaska ferry put in an appearance on its way back from Seldovia.

The Beach at Haystack Rock....

A local outfitter in Homer maintains a number of yurts in Kachemak State Park and rents them out for overnight trips. We rented the closest one at Haystack Rock and loaded up our kayaks with supplies for two nights. Once we were a half mile out from the spit all the boats and noise from the spit road were behind us. Then all we had to do was paddle steadily and hope the eastern breeze didn't increase. This was the third time we have paddled across together and we've always tried to go early enough to beat the "day breeze" back to Homer. The day breeze often comes up on clear, warm days sometime around noon and can create some sizable wind chop and make it very hard to paddle. But on this cool, clear morning we had calm seas and easy going. Within an hour we pulled up on the lovely gravel beach near Neptune Bay.

We found the yurt to be spacious, clean and comfortable. At $65 a night we thought it more than a fair deal for such a beautiful, remote location. The 16 foot diameter tent is equipped with a wood stove for heat and a propane two burner stove for cooking. The double bunks even had mattresses and blankets.

After unloading the kayaks we paddled across the mouth of Neptune Bay and were greeted by several curious seals. The tide was dropping so we couldn't paddle up the Wos River but we'll do that sometime on a rising tide.

We spent the afternoon walking on Mckeon Spit and up the Wos River trail. We found the trail quite good for about two miles but it nearly disappears in the thick brush after it leaves the powerline crossing. There was enough bear scat in the last half mile to give us pause but we continued until we got a view of the upper Wos River gravel bars.

We enjoyed a nice evening in the yurt with the sounds of small waves breaking interupted only by the sweet call of eagles as they settled into their nests.

Saturday morning we were up early and paddled slowly back toward Homer. Somehow it always seems like a longer paddle on the way back...perhaps its the magnetic attraction of that beautiful southern shoreline of Kachemak Bay.