Take a slow boat to Halibut Cove

• Artists seek to reach visitors with hospitality
By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune

HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - Marian Beck, the owner of the Danny J and Kachemak Bay Ferries, shows her new kiosk on the Homer Spit boardwalk. Made from Halibut Cove timbers, it is a start in welcoming visitors to the cove where Beck and other artists share their works.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - Marian Beck, the owner of the Danny J and Kachemak Bay Ferries, shows her new kiosk on the Homer Spit boardwalk. Made from Halibut Cove timbers, it is a start in welcoming visitors to the cove where Beck and other artists share their works.

Imagine a time in the not-too-distant past when “tourism” meant little more than Alaska hospitality. That’s when a tourist was simply invited inside a person’s cabin and offered a cup of tea or taste of smoked salmon.
And once you step in for that cup of tea, expect the stories to last a spell, because few aspects of Alaska life make for a quick yarn.
Marian Beck, operator of the historic Danny J and Kachemak Bay Ferry Service, wants to harken back to that thought in her new kiosk. The kiosk, recently installed on the Homer Spit in a space between the Better Sweater and Bald Mountain Air, was constructed in one of those “only-in-Alaska” stories.
The 8-by-16-foot building was assembled in Homer at Northern Enterprises Boatyard from Cove timbers cut a few decades ago. That meant hauling heavy timbers over on the Danny J — Beck’s World War II vintage boat — to start with. Then hoisting the building into a boat sling to place it on a flatbed truck.
By flatbed trailer, the building was then hauled to the Spit where it was squeezed into its spot using a fish dock forklift. Just an inch or two off on sizing would have meant going back to the boatyard and to build the thing all over again.
Yet, the building itself is no shack. It was, after all, designed by Artist Beck, a lifelong resident of the cove and daughter of Clem and Diana Tillion. Inside and out, sunrise orange, soft greens and yellow beach flower-colors are meant as metaphors for Halibut Cove.
“It was quite the process, but it did work out well, I think,” Beck said Thursday, stepping back on the boardwalk to inspect her work.
She spoke of how the timbers came from the Saltry, cut back when it was built in the 1980s.
“We brought in these rocks from the beach at Halibut Cove,” she explained, indicating six-inch round flat black stones to either side of the kiosk entryway. “The idea is to bring the Cove here as a beginning way to tell about our lives.”
A screen covered in an ancient porthole from the F/V Albert opens a window into the exhibits of 17 cove artists. Most of them depict an aspect of their sea-misty shore homes built on pilings reflected in tranquil waters: Beck, Annette Bellamy, Ted Bell, Sydney Bishop, Kathryn Carovano, Janet Carroll, Jay Greene, Ashley Maury, Toni Maury, Kay McNevin, Nancy Munro, Deborah Spencer, Dustin Thurman, Jan Thurston, Diana Tillion and Tracey Tillion.
Beck wants her hospitality to begin with the kiosk, in some ways to let visitors know what to expect from their visit to Halibut Cove. Aboard the Danny J, visitors tour Gull Island rookeries with a guide aboard to answer questions and offer a brief history of other natural aspects of the area. They arrive in the Cove in time for lunch at the Saltry and a community stay that lasts long enough to hear some artists’ stories.
The Kachemak Bay Ferry begins operations on Memorial Day Weekend, but will be closed June 1 for the memorial service of Diana Tillion. Beck said the Danny J will be available for friends and family to go across to the service, but business will be shut down for the one day.

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Posted by on May 19th, 2010 and filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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