If you have three days in Homer , spend one of them on beautiful Kachemak Bay. A great way to do this is through a Natural History Tour (907/235-6667, www.akcoastalstudies.org , late May–early Sept.) with professional naturalists from the nonprofit Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. You’ll spend time at bird rookeries, tide pools, rain forest trails, and prehistoric sites, and will gain a lifetime appreciation for the marine world.
These eight-hour experiences cost $105 ($73 for children under 12)—a bargain—and includes a visit to Gull Island during your ride across to Peterson Bay. Bring your own lunch, rubber boots, binoculars, and camera. Overnight stays (just $25 pp in a yurt) and kayak trips are also available at the Peterson Bay field station. Their office is in a yurt behind Mako’s Water Taxi on the Spit; they are highly recommended.
Local water taxis lead two-hour Gull Island and 60-Foot Rock tours ($60 pp); Karl Stolzfus of Bay Excursions (907/235-7525, www.bayexcursions.com ) is especially good. He also guides three hour K-Bay birding trips for $70.
Central Charters (907/235-7847 or 800/478-7847, www.centralcharter.com ) books two other boats that spend time at Gull Island: the Danny J on its runs to Halibut Cove , and the Discovery as it heads to Seldovia .
Watch the Gull Island action in real time through the “birdcam” on the Web at www.prattmuseum.org .
Biologist Glenn Seaman operates Seaman’s Adventures (907/235-2157, www.seamansadventures.com ), providing a variety of boat-based environmental tours around Kachemak Bay, from tide-pooling to wilderness hikes. Half-day trips are $150 per person for three guests. The former head of Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, Glenn has a deep knowledge of the region.