puffin home

Harriman Expedition Retraced


Expedition Log




Expedition Log: August 4, 2001

Carmen Field


Members of the Harriman Expedition Retraced arrived in Kachemak Bay by both plane and ship. Incoming, continuing, and outgoing expedition members enjoyed stunning views of the Kenai Mountains draped by multi-layered clouds. Upon arrival at Homer's Pratt Museum, expeditioners were warmly welcomed by Director Michael Hawfield to this unique community and its homegrown museum. As this institution's Board President, I was especially interested in the impressions our visitors would leave of both the museum and Homer. I appreciated the Homer experiences that expedition members shared with me over the course of the day.

Homer Harbor

The Clipper Odyssey sits at Katchemak Bay waiting for the arrival of new passengers and the return of passengers from the first half of the expedition. (Photo by Megan Litwin).
Click image for a larger view.

Many enjoyed longtime resident Jill Greer's stories, told in the surrounding of a fully-furnished homestead cabin, about a lifestyle now only found in history books. Some were fascinated by the ongoing spruce bark beetle epidemic affecting the entire Kenai Peninsula expertly described by retired forester Fred Harnisch while touring the museum's woodland trail. Nearly everyone I spoke with was impressed with the diversity and depth of local artistic talent on exhibit in the museum and displayed elsewhere around town. The museum's remote live cameras were an unexpected treat for all. This unique technology transported them temporarily to a noisy seabird colony at Gull Island, a tufted puffin burrow where a hungry puffin chick waited for its next meal of fish, or to the McNeil River Bear Sanctuary where giant brown bears chased salmon among the river's rapids. Many folks had difficulty tearing themselves away from the on-screen action.

The Stormbird

Clem Tillion's boat, The Stormbird, took a group of travelers that were continuing on to the second half of the expedition to Halibut Cove. This boat also serves as the mailboat for the island. (Photo by Megan Litwin).
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Those passengers remaining onboard the Clipper Odyssey for the entire two-part voyage visited the hamlet of Halibut Cove on the south side of Kachemak Bay. Longtime Ismailof Island resident Clem Tillion ferried the group to Halibut Cove on his old steel-hulled mailboat Stormbird, sharing stories of the area and Alaska along the way. Once in the Cove, they were surrounded by colorful paintings and pottery while dining on fresh seafood and enjoyed visiting with Clem and his artist wife, Diana, in their cozy home. Back on the Homer side of the Bay, these folks joined fellow expedition members Lucy and George Cutting for a lovely afternoon social at the Cuttings' home overlooking Kachemak Bay.

Tillion's house

Clem Tillion invited the group of travelers to his home shown here for tea and cookies. Clem lives with his wife, Dianna, and their children also have homes on the island. (Photo by Megan Litwin).
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I was excited to learn that many of our group had taken time to photograph Kachemak Bay's newest seabird colony enroute to and from the ship -- a brand new colony of black-legged kittiwakes that recently appeared on the deep-water dock where our ship was tied up. As the sun set and a light mist of raindrops fell over Homer, our ship pulled away from the dock and sailed toward Cook Inlet with the lights of Seldovia, Port Graham and Nanwalek twinkling to the south.

(View the day's photos)

(Community Profile: Homer)




For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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