The Kenai Peninsula comes alive during summer. Tourists, fishermen, seasonal workers and year-round residents share highways and harbors from Homer to Seward. ADN's Tegan Hanlon and Marc Lester recently spent a week meeting some of the people who make the Peninsula unique. Here are some of their stories.
HOMER — Carley Conemac plucked a stretch of cord that connected an oar to a plastic bucket, making a thump, thump, thump.
Ryan Black strummed a guitar. Garrett Moe played a mandolin. Dillon Gamby picked a banjo and sang. The band, called Fishslap Oar Die, had just formed about a week or two earlier when the four musicians converged on Homer for seasonal work.
"We'll probably be a band for at least the rest of the summer," Gamby said.
People stopped to listen to the group on the Homer Spit, a thin strip of land that juts into Kachemak Bay, busy with restaurants, shops, tents and RVS. Some tossed dollars into a banjo case. Some took photographs. Some just watched.
One of the band members, Conemac, lives here year-round and works at a water taxi business. The other three said they traveled to Alaska this summer looking for work. They hitchhiked to town from Anchorage, covering about 220 miles quicker than they expected.
"We hitchhike all around town and it takes only 15 minutes or less to get a ride, while down in the Lower 48 you can be there for six hours sometimes and you won't get a ride," Gamby said.
The three men found on-call jobs offloading fish from commercial boats. It pays pretty well when there's work to do, Black said. They earn $15 an hour plus overtime.
But so far, Gamby said, "the fish gods haven't brought any fish."
They weren't worried. The fish would come, they agreed. For now, they had music.
"I met my love by the gas works wall," Gamby sang on. "Dreamed a dream by the old canal."