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12 - 17 July 2014
Back in Anchorage I stayed some days at my hosts from the first time I was in town - another pleasurable experience with Gavin, Savannah and little Orion. As I had already been around town I spent most of my time updating my website and doing other practicalities... After that I moved downtown to a little family I had talked with briefly outside a supermarket during my ride - Aaron, Laura and little Hasan. Very accommodating, generous and interesting - he grew up in Japan and she in Indonesia. The day after I arrived they were going dipnetting at the Kenai Peninsula and invited me to join them. I just came from there on my bike but it sounded like an interesting, local experience so i gladly accepted... Dipnetting is for Alaska residents only and the idea is that people can fill up their freezer with salmon to eat through the winter... I had heard stories of shoulder-to-shoulder fishing and people scooping loads of fish up from the ocean - and also that there was a kind-of festival atmosphere where people camped on the beach with friends and family...
We left at 11 and the drive took about 4 hours including a stop for stocking up... The event is limited time so a lot of people try to make as much money as possible - parking for instance is US 15 per day. However, we emptied the car on a small road and carried our things downhill to the beach after which Aaron found a free parking spot a bit away on the other side of the highway. Within long everything I had heard beforehand was confirmed except for catching fish - Aaron was quickly in the water but it took some hours to catch the first fish and the story was about the same for everybody else on our stretch of the beach. We were in the more quiet part a little ways from where the river narrowed into the ocean and walking there it did look like people caught more fish - though hard to tell per person as it was very cramped there; indeed shoulder-to-shoulder... 
There was a constant movement of coolers and equipment along the beach and people came and left - some people did it as a day trip while others stayed until they catched their quota which could be a week or more (25 fish for the license holder and 10 more fish for every family member).... Friends and family showed up so we ended up having a decent size camp which was nice for me as there were always people to talk to when others went fishing... The tides were big and at our part of the beach people only fished at high tide because it was too far a walk through the mud at low tide. In the background snow-capped mountain ranges and commercial fishing boats constantly running in and out... The day had been nice but in the evening we got some rain...
A noisy night with lots of people on the beach and commercial fishing boats starting running at 3.30am. Everybody began fishing early while I slept (rested) in until 8... The day turned out to be equally unlucky for Aaron - everybody around him caught fish but he got none; though he took it as a good sport - "the experience is being here and if I catch a lot of fish it's a bonus"... It was a beautiful, sunny day which was nice as the wind otherwise might have felt cold. We left mid afternoon after an interesting local experience... A lovely but long ride back to Anchorage - on the way we did a brief stop to view the tidal wave coming in from the ocean..
The next days I spent with the family (including a bird walk with Aaron who's a bird watcher) and doing many practicalities before heading north. What a great stay with a lovely family I briefly met outside a supermarket.
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