We spent our day today across Kachemak Bay, in the little community of Seldovia, home to 265 hardy souls and probably double that in watercraft. Like many towns in Alaska, Seldovia is accessible only by boat or small plane; we decided to take the new Seldovia Bay Ferry, owned by Seldovia Village Tribe, to make our day trip.
Sarah Richardson, Public Relations expert for SVT, accompanied our Extended AK Fam of nine with her own little darling daughter, and so our big old group made quite a show boarding the beautiful and sleek Kachemak Voyager, a twin hull wonder that slices through the water at 25 knots. New to the Homer area, the Voyager is not without controversy, as many in Homer believe the boat is promoting tourism rather than transportation, and many arguments are breaking forth amongst residents of both towns. But none of that mattered today; on this rainy but mild day we were a family looking for a fast and efficient way to get kids across the bay, and we found it.
It isn’t cheap, this ride; at $59 round trip, a family of four can rack up a bill pretty fast, but kids are half-price at $29.50 and really, sometimes you just gotta pay to play. Given the clean, bright, and accessible nature of the Voyager, I’d gladly shell out the dough to ensure a greater chance of success on the other side. The ferry sails all day, with two crossings adding 20 minutes or so to pass by Gull Island and some of the nooks and crannies of Kachemak Bay, a nice bonus for AK Extended Fam, who knew nothing about the area. A pleasant naturalist narrated our way across, explaining better some of the rumblings coming from Homer-area tour operators. That issue aside, however, we had a great time; when kids got restless we were pulling into the Seldovia Harbor and boom, we got off and began our fun.
Seldovia ain’t much, as towns go, but what it lacks in volume it makes up for in charm, with an active Chamber of Commerce and pleasant residents who live their lives around the tides. We ate lunch at the Tide Pool, a shoreside restaurant serving up super service and pretty fine fish and chips. The kids enjoyed watching the boats cruise by, and when the Alaska State Ferry Tustamena arrived, you’d have thought the QEII was docking, there was so much excitement.
After lunch we split up and AK Dad, Kid and I embarked on a little trail known as the “Otterbahn“, a 1.5 mile forest amble that took us through old growth spruce, some wicked devil’s club, and a plethora of salmonberry. Slippery in the rain, the trail nonetheless was delightful and our hike deposited us at the mouth of a lovely little cove riddled with rocks decorated by Mother Nature. To complete the picture, a humpback whale was showing off just beyond the cove, spouting and waving as if just for us. Richardson picked us up in a SVT van as time was short, but most hikers return via the same trail, or take the dirt road back to town to make a 3 + mile trip.
Our return trip to Homer was faster without the sightseeing portion; in 35 minutes we were docking in the Small Boat Harbor. It was a great way to visit Seldovia for the first time, and yes, I’d do it again.
A few notes: Bring a few quiet toys for kids; we had coloring books and crayons which worked pretty well. The ferry was not at all crowded so reservations at this time are probably not a requirement, but check anyway. There is a snack bar on board but we brought our own goodies for kiddos, however Grandma found coffee to be a welcome treat after all the rain.
To make reservations for the Seldovia Bay Ferry, visit their web site or the Ticket Office on Homer Spit Road, in the Kachemak Shellfish Gower’s CoOp building.
Conflict or no, this ferry is a winner for families.