It is still daylight as the motor home sways and bumps along beside Turnagin Arm. Twice we have struggled to stay in our lanes against the force of the wind blowing from Cook Inlet. Forest fires have been a problem in the Alaska interior lately so this rain is welcome. It is hard to tell if the pink and lavender streaks in the sky last night were from volcanoes in the Kurile Islands, Mt Redoubt, or smoke from the fires.We are on our way to the Kenai Peninsula to participate in 2 traditional summer activities: dip-netting for salmon and clam digging at Clam Gulch. (Of course, I won't be dip or dig...I'm the photographer, here to record some Alaska summer fun to share with the folks back home.)
Wow! I totally misjudged dip-netting! This has been a real adventure. We launched our boat (big, aluminum, with a powerful inboard engine) from the city dock at Kenai at almost low tide this morning and motored out through a crowd of other boats past acres of mud flats.
When fishing started my son would drive the boat up river to the edges of the fishing area then motor slowly back downstream against the incoming tide. Dwayne and Liz held the top ends of 12 foot aluminum poles and pushed the huge nets on the other ends into the milky-gray glacial water. We could not see anything so they had to judge a fish in a net by sudden bumping and vibration, then twist the net one-half turn counterclockwise to trap the fish and pull it up into the boat. Hah! That's easier than it sounds! The fish weigh from 8 to 30 pounds and are not happy to be trapped...they flop and jump and protest the whole time. Sometimes you catch a flounder and then have to struggle it out of the net and decide whether to keep it or throw it back. We were after salmon so it was a lucky day for flounder!
The salmon are mostly Sockeye (reds) on their way upriver to spawn. Sometimes folks catch Coho (silvers) too or even once in a while a Chinook (King). Worst possible scenario would be to net a Chum (dog) salmon. They are the least desirable.