Trip to Seldovia, Alaska on ferry, past Gull Island.
While we were in Homer we took a Seldovia Cruise to the quaint town of Seldovia. Seldovia is a city in Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Its population was 255 at the 2010 census. It is located along Kachemak Bay southwest of Homer, and since there is no road system connecting the town to other communities, all travel to Seldovia is by airplane or boat.
Until the development of a more complete road system in Alaska, Seldovia was an important “first stop” for ships sailing from Seward, Kodiak and other points outside Cook Inlet. At one time Seldovia was home to over 2000 residents, but today fewer than 300 persons reside year round.
The town was one of many communities along the shores of Cook Inlet, already noted for having one of the most severe tidal movements in North America. Similar to the dramatic tides of Bay of Fundy, the Cook Inlet’s waters prior to 1964 would rise or fall 26 feet every six hours during the peak tides. After the Good Friday Earthquake on March 27, 1964, which registered 9.2 on the Richter scale the surrounding land mass dropped six feet.
Before the earthquake Seldovia’s “boardwalk” was a thick wooden plank and piling. The town’s main street, was built almost entirely along the waterfront. Most of the community’s businesses, and many homes were similarly constructed upon pilings on either side of this “street”. The sudden sinking of the land caused higher tides, peaking at 32 feet, to completely submerge the boardwalk and flood the homes and businesses along the waterfront.
The waterfront was rebuilt (known at the time as “urban renewal”) using fill from Cap’s Hill, which was demolished to rebuild the town on higher ground. There is only one small portion of the boardwalk left; this section of the boardwalk was built decades after the original boardwalk and it is known to the townfolk as “the new boardwalk”, even though it is now the only boardwalk.
Seldovia has been home to many industries, including fox farming, berry picking and commercial fishing, including King Crab fishing. Logging and mining have also featured in local history. Today charter boats keep busy bringing the visiting sport fishermen to the fishing grounds of Kachemak Bay and other nearby waters.
We stopped by Warehouse Books and Coffee Shop for a snack after a morning of sightseeing. Great little place to relax and enjoy the town.
On the way back to Homer the cruise ship took us by Gull Island, the home to nine nesting species of birds. As many as 20,000 seabirds build nests in the craggy rock faces and cliffs of Gull Island, on the south side of Kachemak Bay about three miles from the Homer Spit.
Most years, 8,000 to 10,000 black-legged kittiwakes dominate the rookery, building mud nests perched in clefts and on ledges. 5,000 to 8,000 common murres nest amid the kittiwakes. Other birds seen in smaller numbers include glaucous-winged gulls, pelagic cormorants, red-faced cormorants, puffins and pigeon guillemots.
The effect is amazing, the air is filled with the cacophony of crying birds. The sky can fill when a thousand birds take wing at once.