On our recent trip to Alaska, we spent an evening in Soldotna, located on the west coast of the Kenai Peninsula. After dinner at an excellent Thai restaurant, we drove to the Kenai (town) area, specifically Old Town Kenai.This locale was established in 1791 by Russian fur traders and is situated on a bluff overlooking the Kenai River and Cook Inlet.
A significant attraction in Old Town is the Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, a Russian orthodox parish church completed in 1896. This was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970. The church is in a Pskov style, shaped like a ship, with three onion shaped domes. The inside, reportedly quite attractive, is home to several significant pieces of artwork, artifacts and icons, and is well worth visiting.
The site first had a church built in 1849 by Igumen Nikolai on a nearby plot. This church became a key for the assimilation of the local native population. The church was replaced by the Chapel of St. Nicholas in 1906 over the graves of Igumen Nikolai and two others. There is also an old fisherman’s cabin which is quite charming.
Lastly, one should take some time to gaze out at Cook Inlet and the Katmai Peninsula, especially in the late evening light.
We were fortunate last month to spend several days on a 43″ sailboat in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. This is a delightful area of our world, and is much cooler than Texas. Our dear relatives always take us to interesting harbors to spend the evening during a casual voyage like this. Here are three of them.
North Saanich Marina
This marina is a favorite on southern Vancouver Island for sailing and boating in the Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands and beyond. It is set in protected Shoal Harbor in Sydney, BC, about 20″ from Victoria and 10 minutes from the airport. Adjacent is the Sydney N. Saanich Yacht Club. We were picked up sailboat at this location, and began several days of cruising in the Gulf Islands.
Genoa Bay is located on Vancouver Island near Duncan, BC. It was named by an Italian immigrant after his home town, who established a business here in 1858. This is a sanctuary with tree lined hilly shores offering a sheltered moorage. The marina is a rustic hideaway full of old sailboats and funky, colorful boathouses. The cafe offers a delightful selection of Pacific Coast seafood and local produce, set on a lovely site overlooking the harbor. The approach to the Bay offers a panoramic view of both Salt Spring Island and Vancouver Island.
Pirate’s Cove is a well protected smallish harbor on the SE coast of DeCourcy Island, located near Nanaimo, BC. The island is sparsely populated and is totally off the grid; the residents like this. The island’s history is colorful, from extensive First Nations use to a homestead for the Aquarian Foundation. That was a religious cult led by Brother XII who convinced some 8000 people to join him on the island in the 1920’s.
The harbor has a very shallow entrance, requiring many boats to enter at High tide. The BC Marine Provincial Park located here offers a very pretty walk through the woods and up several staircases to reach the rocky entrance to the Cove. The cove includes a normal marina with space primarily limited to residents, and a series of chain link connection for anchorage along the shore. We also found a delightful bakery stand along the road on a walk we took one day.