Kodiak : In the Autumn of 2015

I went fishing in Kodiak, Alaska this year again. It was seventh year in a row, but this year was very different from usual trip. This time, I visited Alaska with my wife, Kiyoko. It was very first time for her to visit Alaska and also to fish sliver salmon. She was completely a novice at fishing. After transferring twice from Narita, Tokyo to Kodiak, she would try to catch a big fighter, the silver salmon.

I had arranged a lot of events for her, not only fishing but also visiting the glacier exit in Seward and sightseeing in Seattle. We stayed in Seattle two nights. Because the flights schedule between Kodiak and Anchorage is always dependent on weather, bad weather would cancel my booked flight. One more stay in Seattle was a kind of insurance against that.

September 3 Thursday : Cloudy and rainy

The 4:20 pm flight DL 166 to Seattle took off from Narita International Airport on schedule with all passengers. After nine hours flying, it arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport S terminal at 9:34 am. The time difference between Tokyo and Seattle is 16 hours. After passing passport control and customs at the S terminal, we checked in to Alaska Airlines and left our baggage. We had to move to the main terminal by subway.

During two hour waiting time for the next flight to Anchorage, we had lunch at the airport. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has six terminals, A, B, C, D, N,S. Passengers take subway when going to some of them. The subway system is a little complicated, so it takes a while to get used to the subway system. The 11:55 am flight AS105 to Anchorage took off in the rain.

We transferred to Ravn Airlines in Anchorage, but we only had 40 minute connecting time to the next flight. I was worried whether our baggage would successfully be loaded. When I found them at Kodiak airport, I felt much relieved. We rented a car and headed for Kodiak Inn where we would stay 4 nights.

We met up with Mr. Oki at a Chinese restaurant and talked about fishing schedule. He told us that recent rivers in the main island were not so good, so that we would fly to Afognak Island next day. We agreed with his idea. He would pick up us at 7:30 am next morning.

September 4 Friday : Sunny and Cloudy

He appeared at the hotel on time, and drove us to the Andrew Airways office in Near Island. We saw many sea-planes along the piers. They transport passengers and freight to the remote area of the main island and other islands. I paid charter fee and the admission to Afognak Island.

It was first time to take a sea-plane for Kiyoko, a four seater. We departed at 8:00 am. It took off after a short gliding on the sea. When the floats stopped beating the water, we found ourselves in the air.

Afognak Island is in the north off Kodiak, and it takes about 20 minutes from the main island by sea-plane. The river mouth is the back of Marka Bay. During high tide, the sea-plane would be able to go deep into the bay. The tide was almost high, so we could go deep and luckily didn't need to walk so much.

After loading down our fishing gear, we walked along the beach. We reached fishing place where I fished last year after a 10 minute walk. The river on opposite side was deeper, where silver salmon like to stay. Soon, we were ready to fish. I fixed a lump of salmon eggs on the hook with an egg-loop, and cast it to where fish were. Mr. Oki was looking after Kiyoko very much.

A first fish came up to Kiyoko. I saw her fishing rod pulled vigorously. She had never met with such a situation, so she had no idea how to deal with it. Mr. Oki advised her not to reel in quickly but to step back while holding the rod tightly. She looked very excited, but did as advice. The fish was shortly landed. It was a nice silver salmon. Another one also came up to her.

I got a bite soon, but the fish didn't swallow enough. Without patience, I couldn't hook enough. I couldn't get a catch for a while. When Kiyoko caught a second silver salmon, I saw my rod tip shaking. I realized a fish was chewing the bait now. I jerked my rod quickly and got a strong return. I carefully reeled it in because it was my first catch.

I caught my next one soon. My fishing line was a 20 lb. test line and my tippet was a 25 lb. test line. As long as they didn't have any scratches on the lines, they were strong enough to catch even a big one.

The third fish didn't come up to Kiyoko soon. After a while, she got a bite, but she wasn't used to sufficiently jerking the rod, so she couldn't hook enough. When she tried to land it while reeling it in and stepping back, the fish broke away. Never mind!

She managed to catch four silver salmons, but hadn't reached the bag limit, five easily. Mr. Oki tried to let her fish one more, and they moved downstream to the river mouth while looking for a new school of silver salmon. There were many fresh and beautiful pink salmons at the river mouth. She caught one of them and released it.

She returned to the previous spot and began spin-fishing with a spinner. Because she had never done spin-fishing ever, she couldn't cast it well. After much casting, she got used to it soon. A long awaited silver salmon came up to her. A bite came direct and stronger than bait-fishing, so she seemed very excited and happy.

We began fishing at 9:00 am and each reached a bag limit by 11:00 am. After that, I began bead-fishing. Because I had already caught a lot of salmon with beads last year, I expected to catch more this year, but no bites had occurred. There were a lot of pink salmons in the river, so I managed my hook so as not to snag them. I changed the bead color a couple times and let it drift in different ways. However, they no longer worked. It was just passed noon, our lunch time. Mr. Oki had prepared rice balls for lunch. A rice ball with ume and a rice ball with smoked sockeye were both delicious.

I patiently continued bead-fishing after lunch, but only caught pink salmon. Mr. Oki said the number of silver salmon this year was smaller than last year. As he said, I found only one or two silver salmons in schools. We had to be satisfied with catching a bag limit each.

We saw nobody in the river all day. It was like a reserved river. We were surrounded by great nature and enjoyed fishing and in this wilderness. When I looked at the opposite side, I saw a small animal looking like an otter on a rocky bank. It was the first time for me to see such an animal here.

We had been fishing until 3 pm, but the fish was still slow. We decided to quit fishing and packed our gear. We walked down to the inlet where we had landed that morning. Because high tide had started, the sea-plane would be able to come deep into the bay. Although picking up time, 5 pm, had passed a little, we couldn't hear the roar of a sea-plane and got worried a little. Shortly after, a familiar roar came from far away.

The sea-plane loading with four people and three filled large plastic bags took off after a short gliding on the sea. Kiyoko's silver salmon fishing, a very first experience in her life, ended successfully.

We had dinner at a nearby restaurant, Hains. One of the most popular restaurants in Kodiak, it was always crowded. There were no seats available when we visited, so I booked soon. After 15 minutes, we were seated. At first, we drank to our happy day and the day's catch with the local beer. This restaurant was famous for delicious hamburgers, so we ordered low fat ones. I would go salt water fishing the next day.

September 5 Saturday : Sunny and Cloudy

This day I would go salt water fishing and Kiyoko would stay at the inn quilting. The restaurant opened at 6:00 am and it was free for visitors. It was American style breakfast, and served grilled bacon and sausages, and potatoes and scrambled eggs. We could choose a roll bread or a sliced bread, and bagels. I was happy to find out many cups of yoghurt on the table. Because the fishing boat would leave at 8:00 am, we had leisurely a breakfast.

I arrived at the harbor at 7:30 am. I would take "Moon Shadow" this day, and saw 5 other guys on board. I remembered the captain, David, who had taken care of me two years ago as a deckhand. I had heard he got a captain license three years earlier and worked a couple of times a year as a skipper.

The fishing boat departed at 8:00 am with 6 visitors, 4 Swiss, and one young American, and me. One deckhand was a young woman, who had Korean father and Japanese mother.

Before going offshore, the skipper refueled the boat at the harbor gas station and headed offshore. I guessed we would fish at the northeast off the main island. While we were looking at Afognak Island left side, the boat was running with white waves. After one hour cruising, we arrived at the fishing place.

Our first target was black rock fish. I would jig with my reel and jig, but other people would bait fish with herring cut like an oblong card. I sank a jig onto bottom and gradually reeled it in with twitching. The depth was between 70 and 130 feet. The boat was drifting with the current while fishing, and after passing a good fishing place it repeatedly returned to the current top.

A bite was clear and strong. As I jerked my fishing rod quickly, a strong return came up. Many black rock fish were soon caught, and shortly after all fishermen reached the bag limit of 5 fish each. I caught not only black rock fish but yelloweye and an over three feet ring cod. I enjoyed this fishing very much because they had been large and good fighters.

Our next target was halibut. The skipper decided to go to the place where they inhabit. Black rock fish inhabit rocky area and halibut inhabit sandy area. The boat run about 40 minutes and arrived at that place. The skipper anchored the boat and stopped the engine.

A bait was a couple of cut herring. The deckhand fixed it on a huge hook and cast it with a heavy lead. We had to patiently wait for a bite . When the boat stopped the engine was shaking after waves. While looking at the rod tips patiently, some people got seasick. 3 of four Swiss got it.

After a while, a bite came up to me. I saw my rod being pulled strongly. I jerked it quickly and hooked hard. I got a heavy and strong response. I guessed the hooking was enough. To reel it in from the deep sea was more work than fishing. I managed to reel it in and saw a three foot halibut in the water.

Although the deckhand distributed lunch boxes to us after noon, there were only three guys, the skipper and the American guy and me, who could eat calmly. After all fishermen reached their bag limits until 2:30 pm, the skipper decided to go back. I said to him that Mr. Oki would pick up my catch at the harbor.

On the way back to the pier, the boat stopped at Island Seafood, a fish processing company in the bay. The other fishermen asked the company to process and ship their catch. I handed over my catch to Mr. Oki at the pier. I came back to the inn at 4:30 pm.

Kiyoko and I went to a supermarket to buy our dinner. We bought a bowl of salad and a couple of delicatessens, and ate them lazily in our room.

September 6 Sunday : Cloudy and rainy

We woke up at 5:00 am, and went fishing without breakfast. Mr. Oki picked us up at 6:00 am and we headed for the Buskin River. When we arrived at the parking lot, we saw a car in the darkness. After preparing for fishing, we went down to the river with flashlights.

When I reached the riverside, I saw a guy fishing in the darkness. This fishing hole was called "Broken Bridge", and was very popular. We began fishing soon. I cast a bait upstream cross, and focused on the rod tip in the twilight.

This day's first catch came up to Kiyoko. It was not a beginner's luck but through Mr. Oki's help. She managed to land it. I also got a bite. But my hooking couldn't have been enough, so the fish broke away.

While sun rose, the number of anglers increased along the river. Then, a guy fishing downstream began to shout " Bear! ". When I saw the direction he pointed, I spotted a bear passing a far grassland. He fearlessly chased after it. Shortly after he came back and said he saw three bears.

As the numbers of anglers increased, the fish became slow. Mr. Oki advised Kiyoko to change from bait-fishing to spin-fishing. While casting a spinner a couple of times, she got a strong bite. She said she saw the fish chase a spinner and bite it. The hooking was enough. She landed it successfully and reached her bag limit.

I realized it was a spinner time, and I also changed to spin-fishing. I cast an orange color spinner, but didn't get any bites. I soon changed to yellow one. After a couple of casts, I got a bite. I caught a long-awaited silver salmon.

While continuing to cast. I saw a silver salmon bite my spinner in the water. As soon as I jerked my rod, a strong pulling returned. I had to land it as quickly as possible, because it could be difficult if the fish were to desperately begin to escape. With this nice silver salmon both Kiyoko and I reached our bag limits. I guessed nobody around us had reached the bag limit yet.

Mr. Oki said "it is just 8:00 am now, so you can have a free breakfast at the inn. ". We agreed with his idea and decided to go back soon. Morning fishing was just "a snap".

After breakfast at the inn, we headed for the Pasagshak River at the opposite side of the town. It took over one hour to arrive at the river mouth, where there were already many anglers. I saw many people "flipping" along the both sides of the river that was narrower with the low tide. Flipping was not fishing, but just a kind of hooking. I guessed their flipping would scare the fish to go upstream. We gave up on the place and moved upstream.

The river was still and looked like a pond. I found a couple of silvers swimming among many pink salmons in the river. I set a spinner and began casting soon, but I caught only sculpins but no silver salmon.

We decided to move. We had planned to lunch at "Olds River Inn" on the way to the Olds River. However, when we arrived at the restaurant, it was temporarily closed and we reluctantly had to go to another one. We lunched at the restaurant nearby the American River. It had been drizzling since the morning, and the rain was to be in real earnest during lunch. We let the heavy rain pass as we enjoyed lunch. After lunch, we headed for the American River.

Almost all of the fish in the river were pink salmons, but I found one or two silver salmons among them. They were my targets. At first I used a jig-head fly, but it didn't work in the low water. I changed to a chenille fly, but I caught only pink salmon. It was time to quit fishing. Kiyoko and I ended our fishing in Alaska successfully .

We dined with Mr. Oki at Old Power House. This restaurant, owned by a Japanese who cooks very well, is very popular on the island. I ordered a soba salad and Kiyoko ordered a pork cutlet. We talked about a two day fishing excursion and I paid a guide fee to him.

After dinner, Mr. Oki took us to the nearby mountain top. He said we could go there by car and look down harbors and streets. Going through the suburb of Kodiak, we headed for the mountaintop on the steep, unpaved road. While climbing up gradually, we saw a huge windmill ahead. When we arrived at the top, the fog that had been covering the mountain, disappeared.

We could see not only harbors and houses but a distant airport. I had previously only seen the windmill from below, but I now could touch it. I had visited Kodiak many times, but it was my first experience to see such a beautiful landscape.

I found a lot of cranberries around the top, and asked Mt. Oki what kind they were. He told me they were low bush cranberries and local people made jam from them. I picked up and ate one of them. It was very sour. I believed Kiyoko also enjoyed the landscape and fishing days in Kodiak.

September 7 Monday : Sunny

As soon as I woke up at 5:00 am, I looked outside. It was beautiful morning. On this day, we would go to Anchorage and Kenai. We would take two flights. The flight schedule is often changed and cancelled due to bad weather. I reassured myself about the weather and breakfasted quietly. I checked out of the inn at 7:45 am, and after filling up the car tank headed for the airport.

I checked in to Ravn Airlines and left our baggage at 8:10 am, and returned the rented to Budget. I hadn't had such a stress free last day in Kodiak for a long time. I felt a holiday atmosphere in the waiting room.

The airplane took off from Kodiak 9:25 am 20 minutes behind the schedule. The airplane was small with single seats of two rows. After one hour and 15 minute flying, we arrived at Anchorage Airport at 10:30 am.

We had two more hours by the next flight to Kenai, because we decided to take early lunch. There were many restaurants and shops providing fast food and alcohol in the airport. Before lunch, we headed for the designated smoking area. My lung was filled up with nicotine.

We would fly only 30 minutes to Kenai. We got on the airplane at the edge gate of the airport. In America, airlines provide snack to passengers during flights, even for a 30 minute flight. While a flight attendant was distributing cookies to the passengers, the airplane was ready to land. At 1:00 pm, it arrived at Kenai Airport on schedule.

While Kiyoko was waiting for our baggage at the waiting room, I rented a car from Avis. I hadn't visited Kenai for a long time, but the airport had already renewed its interior and exterior. It looked very beautiful and functional. America's economy had been advancing during Japan's recession. You can easily say America is rich in natural resources and Japan isn't. However, the difference between two countries is huge.

We checked in to Kenai River Lodge. The lodge was literally in front of the Kenai River, so you can fish salmon in the yard. The world record king salmon in sport fishing, 97 lb., was caught at the Kenai River in 1985. I had wanted to stay here for a long time. After check-in, we went to a nearby supermarket to buy food and beverages.

I had a couple of friends in Kenai, and one of them, Mr. and Mrs. Turner invited us to dinner at 3:00 pm. I went around with Mr. Gary Turner in 2003. When he held a summer seminar on fly-fishing at Kenai College in 2003, I took part in it. I have associated with him ever since.

Kiyoko and I visited him at 3:00 pm. When I knocked on the door, the familiar face of Gary appeared. I introduced Kiyoko to him and his wife, Marlene, and Kiyoko gave them quilt coasters that she had made as a present. They were very glad. It was first time for us to take part in a home party in America, so we didn't know what to do. Gary asked us What we would like to drink, so I said Coke and Kiyoko said Alaskan Amber Beer. There was smoked salmon dip and delicious food as appetizers on the table. Curt and his wife, and Dave and Cindy were also invited.

A terrace was next to a living room and had several chairs and a table. While looking down the Kenai River from the terrace, we talked and drank together in a circle. I took Kiyoko to the boardwalk along the river that Gary had made for his fishing boat. When fishing season came, his boat would be moored there. He would go fishing with his boat in the morning and evening.

We had dinner together. There was grilled chicken and salad, and seasoned beans etc on the dining table. Mrs. Marlene Gary cooked almost all of the food and it was very delicious. We also enjoyed dessert, a strawberry pie and a banana cream pie, that Cindy baked. Kiyoko and I really appreciated their hospitality and said we would see them again. We left at 6:00 pm.

We went to a supermarket on the way back, and came back to the inn at 7:30 pm. It was not so dark outside, so I decided to fish at the Kenai River. I didn't expect any catch, but I was happy to cast here. In spite of no bites, I happily ended this day.

September 8 Tuesday : rainy

We would be going to Seward this day. Seward was a small town located in the east side of Kenai Peninsula and the terminal of the oil pipeline coming from the Arctic Sea. You can visit by Alaska Railroad from Anchorage. It was 97 miles, two hours drive from Kenai. We left the lodge at 7:15 am.

After driving on Sterling Highway to the east end, I turned to the right to Seward Highway. We went south along the mountains for a while and came to the end, Seward. We arrived at the tour company's parking lot at 9:10 am.

National Park Tour was held by Kenai Fjords Tours and it was a six hour cruise. It would depart Seward at 11:00 am, go south along the fjords in Resurrection Bay, and visit Aialik Glacier. Many tour boats were moored at the pier and many visitors gathered in the rain. After checking in at the tour office, we boarded on the boat.

The boat departed at 10:45 am with many visitors. It was a catamaran, so it was very stable. It had two stories, visitor rooms and decks, so visitors could easily go outside. When the crew spotted an otter or some sea mammals in the sea, the boat would reduce speed to allow visitors to see them easily. We were going south in Resurrection Bay.

The boat stopped at Aialik Cape, the end of Aialik Peninsula, inhabited by a couple of orcas. While standing on the deck and watching the sea along the peninsula, I saw three orcas swimming and spouting. The captain narrated to the vistors that they were family.

While we watched otters, humpback whales, and sea birds, the boat headed for the glacier. The visitors were given lunch at noon. It was like a burrito. After lunch, I saw many lumps of ice drifting on the sea. I guessed I was approaching the glacier.

A crew scooped a piece of ice with a net. He showed it to visitors on the table. When it was drifting in the sea, it looked white and blue. But it was clear ice this time. A very long time ago it snowed in Kenai Mountains. The snow froze over and turned to ice, and descended from the mountains. After hundreds years, it finally reached the sea.

We came close to the glacier. I thought it was Aialik Glacier. The glacier started from Harding Ice Field in the middle of Kenai Mountains, descending to the sea by 6 feet a day. For example, it takes over 20 years to move 10 miles.

The wind and rain became stronger, and it was very hard to stay on the deck even with thick rainwear. However, many visitors gathered on the deck to look at the glacier if just for a second. They were gazing out on the ice wall that retained blue light inside and stuck out into the sea. Because the glacier moves 6 feet a day, it is quite natural the ice wall collapses into the sea. However, the mass media always use this scene to report "global warming". I don't know why.

The tour company had a couple of glacier tours, so there was another boat around here. I saw many visitors on its deck. In spite of bad weather, the glacier impressed me very much. If it had been sunny on this day, I would have been much more impressed.

After the glacier sightseeing, the boat headed for Harbor Island, where there is Steller Sea Lion colony and over 10 sea lions inhabit. They inhabit here all year around, but the population has declined year by year and they are now an endangered species. The boat gradually returned to the harbor. I received a chocolate cookie as a snack on the way. We arrived at the pier at 5:15 pm.

We visited the Lake Skilak on the way back to the lodge. The lake is upstream of the Kenai River and very beautiful place, and has swan colonies. After a long driving on a gravel road, Old Sterling Highway, you can go to the lake. When we arrived at the lake, locals were coming back from boat fishing.

We had already decided to eat king crab for last dinner in Kenai. King crab is Japanese "Tarabagani", and is also very popular and expensive even in Alaska. We went to the restaurant that I used to visit. However, I guessed the owner was different. There was no king crab and no alcohol beverages on the menu. Kiyoko said it was okay to have no alcohol night. She ordered a pork steak and I ordered a beef steak. We drank to the tour with a glass of water each.

September 9 Wednesday : Cloudy and Sunny

We would be going to Seattle this day. I got up at 6:00 am, and breakfasted on a small loaf of bread and a cup of vegetable soup that we had brought from Japan. We walked around the lodge before leaving it.

The Kenai River is very famous for the world record king salmon, but recently the number of running king salmon has been declining year by year. The authority made fishing regulations stricter and shortened the fishing season. But I guess they don't work any more. A lot of anglers came from all over the world to catch king salmon several years ago, but the number of anglers has also declined, I guess. It is not a king salmon season, but the end of silver salmon season now. I saw a guy on the opposite side river deck catch a salmon.

On the way to the airport through Kalifonsky Beach Road, I stopped at the view point in Kenai Flats. I saw the Kenai River flowing in the middle of the vast flat. When I visited Kenai, I always stopped here to see this landscape. This time, I saw it with Kiyoko.

Kenai Airport was small and exhibited big stuffed bears at the waiting room. I guessed they had been hunted in Kenai or Soldotna. I believed they had grown into such huge bears while eating a lot of salmons. I checked in to the airlines, and returned the rented.

The airplane took off at 9:30 am, and arrived at Anchorage International Airport at 9:57 am. Because we had two more hours by the next flight to Seattle, we had early lunch at the airport restaurant. Kiyoko ordered a smoked salmon burger and I ordered a cup of clam chowder and salad.

The 12:35 pm flight AS 110 arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 16:59 pm. Anchorage time is one hour behind Seattle time, so it took 3hours and 24 minutes. When I visit Seattle, I always go to the hotel by taxi, but this time I took an airport shuttle. It runs between the airport and famous hotels Seattle downtown. A taxi costs about 75 dollars, but an airport shuttle is just 15.5 dollars. Because I had always stayed at cheaper hotels, I had never taken it. But this time, we would stay at The Warwick Hotel Seattle, one of the famous hotels in downtown Seattle. We got on the shuttle which was very cheap and convenient for us, but we had to be a little patient because it stopped at several hotels and took much more time than a taxi.

We arrived at the hotel at 6:30 pm. After checking in to the hotel, we changed our dresses and went to a restaurant for dinner. We had already decided to eat oysters at Shucker's, so we walked to the restaurant using a map. It was not so easy to find the restaurant. I asked a doorman of Fairmont Olympic Hotel where Shucker's was. He replied with smile, it was in his hotel. The restaurant was the inmost room on the ground floor.

The restaurant served oysters by three ways, raw and baked and smoked. I ordered a half dozen oysters by each way. We ate one and a half dozen oysters soon. They were not so large but very delicious. While eating them, I remembered eating three dozens oysters there with my daughter 10 years earlier.

After dinner, we walked around there. Almost all of the stores at Pike Place Market were already closed and there were few people on the streets. Kells was near there. It was a Irish pub and I had visited a couple times when I stayed in Seattle. At first, Kiyoko hesitated a little to go in, but I took her into the pub. The visitors enjoy Irish beverages and cuisine, and Irish music. They have Irish taste. Before a musician had played country western music songs, I had requested a couple of my favorite songs and paid a tip. The evening, I asked the musician to play two songs and tipped, but he said he didn't know those songs. I didn't ask him to return the money but left the pub with a wave.

September 10 Thursday : Sunny

We would tour Seattle downtown this day. We bought sandwiches and something for breakfast at a nearby grocery store, and ate them in the store where there was a space with chairs and tables. After breakfast, we headed for Pike Place Market at first. It is one of the most famous places in Seattle like Space Needle, so it is always crowded. There are over 600 stores in an entire block, that make up a big market. Visitors walking down on Pike Street come across this fish shop at first. You can easily find this shop in guidebooks.

The shop deals not only king salmon but many fish and seafood caught in the sea before you. You can ask them to deliver the fish to your hotel. There are also many florists, fruit and vegetable, and variety stores. Many people visit from early morning till evening.

At first, we visited Seattle Aquarium. I visited here with Mr.Shiraishi last year, I had not yet lost interest. We bought tickets and entered. It may have been a cleaning time this time, as we saw two divers cleaning the aquarium.

There were not only ocean fish but marine plants exhibited in the showcases. They came from not only the Arctic Ocean but also the Hawaiian ocean. I thought the specific characteristic of the aquarium was to show the life of the salmon. There is a small waterway connected with the open sea in the aquarium. The salmon can enter the aquarium through the waterway and spawn. If they are lucky, visitors can see king salmon not only swimming in the aquarium, but running up and spawning. I've never seen such a scene, but I would be excited to see the fish running up through the waterway.

When we went out from the aquarium, it was just lunchtime. We had lunch at a seafood restaurant along the coast. I ordered chowder with bread. A clerk hollowed out a roll bread to make a bowl and poured one scoop of chowder in it. The chowder gradually soaked into the bread. It was delicious. We shared it and enjoyed it very much.

As we left the restaurant, passing on the opposite side of Alaska Street, I saw the amphibious vehicle, that we would board at 3:00 pm. Before that, we decided to ride on a Ferris wheel. At first, I hesitated a little, but with courage bought two tickets.

The Ferris Wheel was not so big, but we could see the streets and the Pacific Ocean from the top of the wheel. I also saw Safeco Field, the home of the Seattle Mariners. I was surprised that the wheel turned four times, so we could see things we had overlooked again. I was just in a tourist mood.

When I visited Seattle last year, I noticed an amphibious vehicle. It was called "Ride The Duck", a 90 minute tour visiting Seattle downtown and the Lake Union. I had already purchased 3:00 pm tickets in Japan. There were many visitors on board, not only American, German, Australian, Korean and Japanese.

The vehicle departed with all passengers. We would visit many tourist attractions with the driver narrating. We passed the restaurant where I had lunched a little while ago, and headed for the Lake Union near downtown.

When we arrived at the lake, the driver launched the vehicle slowly on the paved slope. He was a boat captain this time, so he wore a captain's hat. The vehicle began cruising. Many life jackets fixed to the ceiling indicated that the vehicle was really a boat.

Because the lake was connected with the sea, a lot of ships were moored to the piers. The captain said that some of them had just come back from Alaska. You can see a lot of houses along the lake. But they are not houses but boats. They are so-called "boat houses", and aren't fixed on the bottom. The whole house is a boat. However, the owners have to pay property tax as house owners.

When you look at the below left picture, you can see that it is really a boat. The boathouse has two motors at the stern, so it can go anywhere. It has a BBQ grill on the deck, so the owner can enjoy a barbeque on the lake.

We would end our trip with a dinner show. We returned to the hotel and dressed up a little. Kiyoko had brought her favorite dress for it. We walked to the Teatre Zinzzani where I visited last year. This night we enjoyed excellent acrobatic performances with a delicious dinner. There was a comedy story among breathtaking performances, songs, and dancing. Kiyoko seemed to be most satisfied with them.

After the dinner show, I was called to stop by a Japanese woman at the gate. She said she had spotted us among the crowd during the show, and decided to greet us because we were the only Japanese couple at the auditorium. She said her husband would play "Samurai" at the next house that would begin next week, so they came early to Seattle to prepare something. We were glad to meet such a charming couple.

I have to say that the success of an event is not dependent on how hard I work, but on the weather. One missing flight will spoil the plan. I soon get stressed and have to work hard to rearrange things. Nevertheless why but I want to go back to Alaska one more time. When each trip ends, I'm always thinking about the next one, and so I'm going to Kodiak next year. I'll begin to prepare for the next fishing expedition soon.

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