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 — Stephanie Zuniga lifted her paddleboard over her head as she carried it from her car on a 55-degree morning. It was the kind of day everyone brings up in conversation. The sun. The calm waters. The view of the snow-capped mountains across the bay.
Zuniga had about 30 minutes to spare before lunch plans with friends. She pulled on neoprene booties as her graying 14-year-old dog Moleh sniffed around the rocky Bishop's Beach. "She loves going to the beach," Zuniga said.
So does Zuniga. The 48-year-old elementary school teacher learned to surf in Mexico about five years ago. When the wind and waves are just right, she'll use her paddleboard to surf in Homer's waters.
"You only get surf when there's a nice northwest or west wind," she said. "When you get the wind, you get the nice swells and you can surf here and it's really fun with a paddleboard. There's actually a pretty big surf community here."
This isn't just a summertime hobby for Zuniga. Even in February and even in temperatures around 15 degrees, she will still put on her wetsuit and head out to the water.
"This is my midlife crisis," she said, punctuating her sentence with a laugh.
"No, I just figured you've got to keep moving."