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Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

Erie, Colorado
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Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

Has anyone taken the ferry round trip from Homer to Dutch Harbor and back to Homer? Is it worth it? We're thinking of doing that late September.

Wasilla, Alaska
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1. Re: Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

I've done the ferry from Homer to Kodiak and all over southeast... Is there a particular reason why you are looking at this trip?

Erie, Colorado
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2. Re: Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

It seems like an interesting trip. We are already planning the ferry from Homer to Kodiak, wondering if it's worth going farther.

fti
MN
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3. Re: Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

If it were me I might consider going one way with the ferry and fly back. It is a long trip to Dutch Harbor. Not sure what your interest is besides looking "like an interesting trip." Without a specific purpose in going, I would use my time more effectively in other areas.

What are the rest of your plans for your Alaska trip? You do realize that late September is no longer tourist season so many tours, etc. will not be operating.

Edited: 11:17 pm, July 09, 2012
Erie, Colorado
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4. Re: Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

We're driving the Alaska Highway (long been on my bucket list), visit Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, still in the planning stage. We actually expect to get there late August, get on the tail end of tourist season, but were thinking of adjusting our schedule because the ferry to Dutch Harbor doesn't have berths available till late September. We're nature and animal lovers, hope to see lots of that. Would it make more sense to just go to Kodiak Island and spend a few days rather than do the whole sw route?

fti
MN
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5. Re: Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

What do you want to do on Kodiak? I am there right now actually. It is mostly a place to fish, maybe hunt or bear viewing though bear viewing generally requires an expensive fly-in. Figure $500-$600/person for a 4 hour trip that includes max 2 hours of bear viewing. I personally don't consider bear viewing day trips. They are just too expensive for me. I prefer multi-night trips that give me more "bang for my buck."

There is great hiking in Kodiak if you like to hike. A couple of nice museums too.

You have to decide what interests you in each place, then decide how long it will take to see/do the things that interest you.

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

The Peninsula and Aleutian Chain is remote, beautiful, culturally fascinating and historic - from Aleut culture and Russian colonialism, to World War II relics and modern gold-rush fishing action.

The Tustumena (the ferry that runs that route) is ocean-capable, unlike many of the AMHS fleet that isn't designed for open ocean but she's not a big boat, and the North Pacific and Bering Sea waters out there are big. Very big. The trip is NOT for fair-weather sailors, but if you're experienced in big ocean conditions, it's a marvelous run.

For tourists, I'd definitely fly in one direction and ferry in the other. You could even minimize the rock 'n roll time by flying from Anchorage to one of the intermediate ports of call (I'd personally pick Sand Point) then take the Tusty out to Unalaska ("Dutch Harbor's" village) then fly back to ANC from there.

It's a part of Alaska visited by very few tourists, but a beautiful and fascinating region.

A couple of pictures from Unalaska:

gardyloo.us/unalaskachurchhouse1109.jpg

http://gardyloo.us/unalaskagraveyard.jpg

Edited: 1:53 am, July 10, 2012
Erie, Colorado
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7. Re: Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

Thanks for both your suggestions. We do enjoy hiking. We thought the ferry would also give us an opportunity to see some whales, but maybe that's already a little too late in the season. We'll look into flying to Unalaska, pictures are lovely!

Lake Tahoe...
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8. Re: Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

do what fti recommends. We did just that in 1997. We flew into Homer (on a DC-3) and a real estate agent met us and drove us around viewing fantastic property and then a day or so to the Homer ferry terminal. As the ferry would be in Dutch Harbor only for a few hours we would get off. He stayed at the Grand Aleutian Hotel and rented a car for a couple of days. We flew back to Anchorage via Alaska Airlines combo 737 (part passenger and part cargo). Dutch Harbor now served by Penn Air. At Anchorage we rented a car and drove back to Homer, took another look at the property and made an offer (which was accepted. Now, here we are!

Erie, Colorado
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9. Re: Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

Thanks for your suggestions. We're looking into flights, any reason why you recommend Sand Point to fly into? k2iks: Why did you decide to move to Homer?

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: Homer ferry to Dutch Harbor

>> We're looking into flights, any reason why you recommend Sand Point to fly into? k2iks: Why did you decide to move to Homer? <<

Partly because I used to work there, also because there's a decent motel and a good B&B in Sand Point, whereas stops on the ferry route further out the chain - King Cove, Cold Bay, False Pass and Akutan - either don't have accommodations or only dicey ones, and/or have rather difficult air access.

Sand Point is a prosperous fishing community in a beautiful setting, so if you had a day to wander around before (or after) the ferry, it would be an interesting place to do it. It IS the bush, however, so expecting urban amenities will lead to disappointment.

Sand Point is also the largest community called by the Tustumena between Kodiak and Unalaska, so the chances of somebody vacating a cabin there will be heightened, since the villagers use the ferry mainly to bring vehicles down from Southcentral Alaska, so they're getting off there. (The only other way is by barge or freight service from Seattle, which is very expensive.)