I can count the number of times I’ve been on a ferry on one hand. I can count the number of times that I’ve been on a ferry that I remember on three fingers: Costa Rica, Seattle-Bainbridge, and now Homer-Seldovia.
Seldovia is a small town across the bay from Homer, and though it is not on an island, the only way to get to it is by boat (or plane, but I don’t have that kind of money). I didn’t know much about the town AT ALL before we went over there. I didn’t do any research on it or anything, basically the knowledge I had gathered was just from hearing people talk about it. But despite (and actually more truthfully because of) our lack of knowledge, we decided to embark on this day trip last weekend while my dad was in town.
The ferry was a lot nicer than I expected it to be, in fact it was actually just about downright fancy. There were flat screen tvs that marked the boat’s progress across the bay, clean new leather seats to sit on, and, to Justin’s delight, there was as much free coffee as you could drink.
The trip across the bay usually takes 45 minutes, or so I am told. Ours took a little bit longer because one of the deck hands (are they called that on a fancy boat?) spotted a whale in the distance, and all of a sudden it was like we were on the good ship Pequod with Captain Ahab.
Then, all of a sudden, the boat screeched to a halt.
The humpbacks breached CLOSE, waved their tails at us, and then dove. And once again we were off at full speed, chasing the whales all over across the bay. This continued for about 15 minutes or so, and I would say that the captain got an absolute A for effort. It felt more like we had paid for a whale watching trip than a shuttle to the other side of the water. I think the captain got a kick out of it too though, we heard him saying something about harpoons to the first mate.
It was amazing to see the whales again, after seeing them in Resurrection Bay in Seward. It is just mind blowing how big they are! On the way back, we saw a little bit of an orca (basically we saw it’s top fin come out of the water before it went back under) which was cool but disappointing because I REALLY have been wanting to see orcas. But I can’t complain, both times that we have been “whale watching” this summer have been completely magical and unexpected.
There are a few different ways to get to Seldovia. You can take the ferry, or choose a longer trip on a tour boat that goes past the gull island and takes about two and a half hours, as opposed to our one hour trip. They are both actually similarly priced, but we chose the ferry for a couple of reasons. First, it was rainy. Really rainy. And blowy. And we just didn’t want to be on the water for 3 hours in that weather. Second, there was a cruise ship in town. This only happens a few times over the course of the summer in Homer, but when it does, things get BUSY. Once we had reached Seldovia, we saw the tour boat pull up jam packed with people- and what looked like standing room only. We were glad we had made the whale chasing, coffee drinking, leather seat decision.
To learn more about the Seldovia Bay Ferry, you can check out their website, they have a lot of cool info about the boat!