Saturday, May 28, 2011


Some interesting clouds were forming over the Kenai Mountains this morning. Most people would maybe give them a curious glance, but a pilot should know a little about them, especially if they were planning a flight in the mountains. Standing lenticular clouds are formed when the air rises up over the mountains, cools to the dewpoint and the cloud forms. Then the wave descends into the trough, and as the air warms past the dewpoint again, the cloud dissipates. The cloud has the deceptive appearance of being stationary. Once in awhile a churning rotor cloud will appear below the lennie, but not always. Strong turbulence is always associated near the rotor cloud, or where it might be if the conditions were right. Gliders on the other hand will seek out the lenticular clouds because of the lift they can generate over the top. Altitude records in gliders have been set riding the lift associated with the mountain waves. At any rate, they are really an interesting phenomena, and have a very calm and serene appearance.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fun with Tides

At the Cook Inlet we have near a 28ft tide. A decision to head to the beach for some kayak fun has to first be checked against the tide charts. Here in town and on the local beach it is nothing more than a nasty carry for a 1/4 mile to find the water at low tide, or it could be a wild ride in China Poot Bay during the change. Last Summer when I had the chance to get some paddle time in with Tom Pogson at the Alaska Kayak School, we ventured into China Poot at somewhere near slack tide, and never really got into the tide race. Tom did give me some idea on what a person might encounter, and to give the area a great deal of respect. This year I have a little more time, but I still may have to get my good kayak time in during the end of an Alaska Summer.

Anyway, here is an image of Bishop beach at both the high and low tide. These are not extreme tides .. if I remember right, these are at a -4ft and a high of around 17ft. You could add a few feet to the high and low for a max tide day.

You can click on these images and look closely .. on the low tide shot, there are some peope out on the beach.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ealgle Stuff

I've been trying to get out to the bay after work for some kayak activities. At least spend some time playing in the waves and doing some of the different rolls I've learned over the last few years. I need to work on the balance/static brace to get some of the other rolls working good, the balance brace has been just a bit elusive for me. I get it for awhile, then it seems to go away. I'd like to spend some time this summer getting this one down a little better. While loading the boat up on the Jeep the other day, I had an eagle come by. He seemed real interested in something on the hill next to where I was parked and kept flying by, so I grabbed the camera and tried to capture some fly bye's.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stand up Paddling

Well the wind picked up, and the stand up paddlers came back, and this time they had some waves to play in. My comments earlier about them not going very far, and very fast will have to be re-thought. But I will stand my my statement that they look like they are having fun! I may have to re-think this paddle board thing. I thought about taking the NDK out for some fun, but it was a nasty carry over the rocks, and the dumping surf looked a bit intimidating. These guys seem to have it figured out. Just push the board out and climb on!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bear Trip

With the bear viewing season soon upon us we needed to go check out Hallo and Chinitna Bay. These are the areas we bring people to photograph and view the big bears up close. We were happy to see the bears out and about and digging clams. Early season, the clams are a major source for their diet. One of the reasons the bears are so tolerant of us being there is the abundant food supply in the area. There is always either the clams, the sedge grass that grows along the tidal areas, or the salmon. They have no reason to assume we would have food for them. Unlike the black bears I'm used to seeing in the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior, nobody here has fed them, or left anything laying around for them to associate us with food. Its an opportunity for us to see them up close and still feel safe. Augustine rises 4,134 feet from the sea ...

The flight out to see the bears is an incredible experience, and second only to seeing the bears. With good weather we can see three volcano's .. there's Augustine, Iliamna, and Redoubt. If the visibilty is really good, I'm told Denali can be seen, but 250 miles distant. I was able to get some good shots of Augustine on this trip. I had a couple photos earlier this week from the beach in Homer of Augustine with smoke, but at 75 miles distance it wasn't the greatest. The images here are pretty close, but no smoke.

It's hard to describe the flight from Halo to Chinitna, the whole distance is full of glaciers, mountains, waterfalls, and all the stuff that makes this place Alaska. I have a few of the images here from the flight, but a better way is to experience it first hand.

As we leave Chinitna Bay to cross the Cook Inlet we climb to 10,000 feet msl to make a safe crossing back to Homer.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Beluga Lake

Beluga Lake is an FAA seaplane base so ... no kayaking here! You'd find yourself in a bit of trouble just doing a paddle around the lake. So drive another 1/4 mile, and do your paddling in the bay. I drive by here every morning on the way to the Homer Airport, and it looks like the ice is just about gone. We'll be seeing the float planes coming in over the road any day now.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Katchemak Bay

I finally found some time when the weather was nice, well 40 F and sunny is nice in my book anyway, and I had the day to goof off, so I loaded up the boat and gear and headed to the bay. I wasn't the only one who thought it was a perfect day to be on the water, it seems there is a whole bunch of people here who really get into the stand up paddle board thing. Now, I've not tried it, and it looks like a lot of fun, but they don't go very far, very quickly. They all seem to bob around like a bunch of ducks in the same place most of the time. Oh well, it does look fun.

I didn't spend a lot of time on the water maybe little over an hour and a half or so, but enough time to paddle up the spit a ways, then I paddled into the wind off towards Bishop Beach, that way, when I got decided I'd had enough I could just let the wind push me back. A free ride so to speak! It was a nice day!