1st of September is a sunny day in Homer. Clear sky, sun is warming my skin. After breakfast at Mauras Cafe I take a bike ride up the hills to get a view. Kammi Matson at Old Town B&B gives me a ride in her Subaru to the ferry terminal at the spit dock and guess what – the ferry Kennicot is delayed due to “rough weather out there”. The information is given to me when I call the number which is posted at the ferry terminal entry. This is often the case with the ferries in these waters and you just have to be patient and adapt to the situation. The same ferry, Kennicot was also delayed about a day from Dutch Harbor.
On the trip from Dutch Harbor to here I met several persons that I got to know a little better.
John, the fisherman from Kodiak wants to retire from the hard work on deck and start a school for deckhands and hire them to the fishing boats. His fingers are numb due to tying thousands and thousands of over hand knots for crab pots and hauling cod long lines in the cold waters of Bering Sea.
There is Zak a young fisherman from Homer who “just love fishing”. As long as fishing is the subject he is all shining and happy, praising his work but if the discussion shifts to some other issue he gets silent and introvert.
Another totally different character is James Mason, 65 who spent two years in Dutch Harbor as a journalist. After being commissioned by a fishing newspaper they informed him, after two weeks, that the paper was to be shut down. So James started his own internet based magazine The Dutch Harbor Telegraph. Now he is on his way to Anhorage to start a new chapter in his life. He had been working as a journalist in Jugoslavia during the Balkan War, owned a bike shop in Carlifornia and lived in Kotzebue, Alaska. A gnarly and well informed man. I liked him and we had some interesting discussions.
The young woman Erica have stayedin Dutch Harbor for four months. She is a newly examined massage therapist and also divorced from a marriage that did not make her happy and now she is enjoying her freedom and experiencing new contact with new people which she lacked in her marriage since her husband was not social.
Cindy, in her late sixties grew up in a road house in Alaska where her father was a bush pilot. Now she runs her green house in Fairbanks together with her daughter. The work is quite seasonal so it made it possible to make this trip together with her brother Art and his wife Patty.
What about Homer? My stay at Old Town B&B has been a pleasant treat. Specially compared to the hotels I experienced in the Arctic which were mostly very expensive and dirty. The establishment is situated in an old merchant house which also holds a gallery at the street level. The atmosphere is romantic, artistic country style which immediately made me feel comfortable. Melissa, an artist who is also staying at the B&B is working on her exhibition consisting of creatures and objects made of coconut hair. She is determined to make one object each day.
The streets are to big for this little place. It is a pity because you get an impression of a suburb in any American big city. Though a small town building, The Homer theatre is just having a documentary film festival. I have seen two films – Cutie and the Boxer, about a Japanese artist couple living in New York. The common problem in artist families, the one where the woman steps back in order to support her husband, was very well told in this film. Muscle Shoals – picture the story of the legendary sound from this particular studio in Alabama. Lots of wonderful music! I couldn’t understand why people in the ticket queue carried big bowls. When I got inside I saw that they filled them with popcorn. Weather it was to save money or impact on the environment I don’t know but it made a charming impression on me.
Another charming place is Observance of Hermits, a second hand book shop owned by the Russian Yan Kandror, living in Homer since 28 years. Lots of nice old books and strange objects, just the magic atmosphere a shop like this should have. Unfortunately I could just buy some postcards. I can’t carry any more in my already to heavy bag.
Enough for now – I am getting out in the sun to enjoy this beautiful day.