Alaska is full of natural beauty; mountains, bays and islands. On the way to any dive sites you are very likely to see Sea Otters, sea birds and occasionally Sea Lions, Orcas and Humpback whales. The underwater realm is just as amazing. Sea Anemones reaching 3 ft. tall, 5 ft. Wolf Eels, 2 ft. diameter Sunflower Stars, Octopus and more.
There are also plenty of smaller creatures. Nudibranchs, Decorator Crabs, Brittle Stars, Feather Stars, Moon and Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, Sea Pens, and Shrimp. There’s various Rockfish, Kelp Greenlings, Sculpins and Salmon.
We went diving with The Dive Shop, located between Soldotna and Sterling on the Kenai Peninsula, approximately 140 miles Southwest of Anchorage. It is 2 hrs. away from beautiful dive sites around both Homer and Seward. This dive shop is run by Ed Lindquist and you can makes 2-3 dives depending on the time of year and weather. The boat is big enough to accommodate 4 divers, though 3 is best. It has an interior cabin for keeping dry and warm and Ed will show you all the best spots.
If you are not diving there is plenty of other things to do. Kenai is located at the mouth of the famous Kenai River, where it empties into Cook Inlet. Kenai boasts beautiful views of Mt. Redoubt, Mt. Spur and Mt. Illiamna. Conveniently close to fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, canoeing, rafting, flight seeing, golfing, wildlife viewing, historical tours and cultural museum with wildlife displays. Don’t forget to watch the beluga whales playing in the mouth of the river.
When to Visit Kenai Peninsula
While most people expect Alaska to be cold, their summers are the weather people dream of with an average high on the Peninsula in the mid sixties, humidity around 50% and less than two inches of precipitation per month. Winter temperatures can be extreme, but the Peninsula is one of the most mild winter climates in the state with average winter highs in the twenties and snowfall rarely accumulating more than four feet. Weather is always a factor in the state, but by being prepared it will rarely interfere with your experience.
The Dive Center operates between April and October. Visibility is 10-30 ft in the summer, better in the fall, and best in the winter because of less plankton bloom. Water temperatures also vary between 40-60F degrees, but you can generally bet on around 50F at mid summer.
Getting to Kenai Peninsula
Fly into Anchorage and rent a car at the airport. Take the ferry over to the Kenai Peninsula and drive to The Dive Shop.