TBT — I Like Big 'Buts

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Now that my return to Alaska is finally close, I’m starting both to relive my 1995 trip and to get excited about this one. The last go-round, we spent money we didn’t have at the end of the journey to take a halibut charter out of the world-famous town of Homer.

I don’t know how we picked the particular charter operator, or what questions we asked, but we ended up having a grand time with a couple who likewise signed up that day — an aviation lawyer from New York and his wife who’d previously been a hanger-on and drug courier for the Grateful Dead. We each got our limit of flatfish, the crew packed ‘em up, and everyone got to take home a cooler full of meat as luggage.

This time around we’ll have about 60 hours on the front end, which didn’t make the 4+ hour trip down to Homer feasible, so instead we’ve decided to cram in an overnight trip out of Seward, which is about 2 hours closer. I’m glad that we didn’t wait until our arrival to inquire about the options, because most of the recommended charters were already fully booked. That may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because one of those captains referred us to another one, who is tailoring the trip to our specific needs. Since we don’t care about meat, we can avoid the “chicken holes” that tend to produce smaller fish, and we’ll also have time to chase some of the other freak show species that live there. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much — after all, bad weather could sideline the whole deal — but if it comes even close to what I think it could be it’s going to be an adventure with the chance for very sore arms.

[Note: The dude with the dark hair and big ears on the far right is 25-year-old me, sporting my first and worst beard.]