Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Kenai Peninsula: Cook Inlet Agate Beaches

     Departing Anchorage we headed south along the Seward Highway through Turnagain Arm and joining the Sterling Highway heading west.  Our first stop was to be near the Captain Cook Recreation Area about 25 miles north of the town of Kenai on the east shore of Cook Inlet.  We spent 3 days boondocking here while beachcombing and searching the beaches for Alaskan Agates.  There was the old style hand pump potable water available, but once again the battery bank and solar panels powered us.  This is the best part of the Land of the Midnight Sun this time of year. 
    We beachcombed Salamatof, Nikiski, and Discovery beaches during our stay.  All these beaches contain good amount of tidal rocks instead of the normal beach sand or mud.  I was surprised to discover that the Salamatof Beach is also the home to a Conoco Oil Terminal for tanker loading.  I only thought tankers visited Valdez.  We also saw several off shore drilling platforms.
      Mount Redoubt last erupted in 2009, sending not only large plumes of ash into the air, but tons of silicone oxide that became 'nearly instant agates' when it hit the cold water of Cook Inlet.  For years the tides have been pushing these agates onto the beaches of the Kenai Peninsula.
     The weather was fair, but intermittent rain mixed with our days.  We were forced to use the Honda generator to top off the battery bank several times as the cloud cover really didn't allow good solar panel operation.  The State Bird of Alaska continually made it's presence known as we sprayed DEET on ourselves several times daily here.  Sometimes the best part of my day was the late afternoon fire with a cold beer while surveying our days cache of stones.

     Barb's in house chef prepared Apple Chicken Sausage Pasta, Fried Razor Clams, and Parmesan Crusted Whitefish and Asparagus during our stay.
     Next stop for us is Homer, Alaska......Halibut Fishing Capital of the World!  

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