Ashore Water Taxi

This Homer-based operator runs just like a taxi: They run their 24-foot vessel pretty much on demand and will take you wherever you want to go around Kachemak Bay.

A family-run operation since 2005, Ashore offers a few basic tours—wildlife and bird viewing—but also takes travelers to the camping sites, cabins and activities all around Kachemak State Park. The 24-foot Blackfish seats up to six. The water-taxi captain is the company's owner, Dave Lyon, who gives an authentic insider's tour: Lyon has more than 20 years' professional experience on local waters—working for the Dept. of Fish and Game, guiding fishermen and big-game hunters, and fishing commercially himself. He can tell you great hikes and kayaking spots nearby, where to see wildlife and anything to do in town.

Lyon always likes to ask travelers about what they're interested in seeing or doing for the day. If you want to kayak, he'll hook you up with local rentals. If you want to see some otters, stop by an oyster farm, or do a rigorous hike, he can customize your trip accordingly. The tours run at a leisurely pace: if Lyon sees a whale while heading back to the dock, he'll stop so that everyone can get a good look in this intimate setting.

Here are the main tours you can choose from:

Roundtrip to Kachemak Bay State Park

Ashore will take you anywhere you need to go in the state park and then come pick you up whenever you say—whether you want to hike or kayak for the day, or rent a yurt or cabin and stay for a week. $80/person.

Roundtrips to Jakolof Dock, Peterson Bay, private cabins and other non-Park destinations

Buy oysters off the farm in Peterson and Jakolof Bay, launch your kayak at the public dock in Halibut Cove, or kayak around Peterson Bay. $75/person.

Bird Tour

This one-hour tour gets you up close to literally thousands and thousands of birds—Gull Island is home to nine nesting species, including red-faced cormorants, puffins, and, of course, gulls. If you have a specific species you want to see, Lyon will help you track it down.

Two-hour Wildlife Tour

You'll visit Gull island, Eldred Passage and/or Sadie Cove, where you'll get close-up views of sea otters with their pups, seals, porpoises (if you're lucky), and thousand of birds—as well as possible whale sightings. If you have a specific species you want to see, Lyon will help you track it down.

Season

The taxi operates year-round, with popular eagle photography trips occurring in early spring. Main tours run daily from mid-May through mid-September. Office hours are 8:30am to 6:30pm, but earlier tours, or later pickups, are easily arranged.