Goofing Off and Winning the 2023 Captain’s Invitational Halibut Tournament in Homer, Alaska

2023 Captain's Invitational Halibut Tournament in Homer, Alaska.
Brian and Chuck offload one of the winning fish from the Early Riser. The crew of 6 took first and second place at the 2023 Captain’s Invitational Halibut Tournament in Homer, Alaska.

One of my very first fishing trips when I arrived in Alaska more than 6 years ago was with my friend Jordan, who invited me to join a bunch of guys competing in the annual Captain’s Invitational Halibut Tournament in Homer, Alaska. We did not win the tournament that year, but I started to find my sea legs and understand a little bit about what drew such an eclectic group of guys together with a love for the ocean.

Halibut Fishing on Kachemak Bay with ‘Gone Walk About’

The first video on the ‘Gone Walk About’ YouTube channel — Ash and I fishing for halibut out of Homer, Alaska.

My buddy Ash (AKA ‘Gone Walk About’ on YouTube) and I try to go out fishing together every spring. Things get hectic in Homer, Alaska when the snow finally melts. Boat work kicks into high gear ahead of the summer fishing seasons, and the whole town seems to awaken from its winter slumber.

This past week Ash and I managed to sneak away for an afternoon of halibut fishing on a flat-calm, blue-ish sky day in Kachemak Bay. It was late April, which is still considered off season for halibut fishing in Alaska, but we cared more about being out on the boat than we did catching fish, and with such nice weather it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Fishing ended up being pretty good, too.

Dispatches from, like, the Steepest Ski Resort Mountain Ever

On the Glacier Bowl Express to the top of Mount Alyeska. Photo by Clay Duda.
On the Glacier Bowl Express to the top of Mount Alyeska.

Mount Alyeska is a hard mountain to learn to snowboard on. I know this because that’s where I learned since moving to Alaska. I never snowboarded before then, except in my friends backyard in Homer and at the super awesome and totally worth-while Homer Rope Tow. But as far as real resort style stuff, Alyeska was my proving ground.

It’s has the reputation of being “steep and deep” because, like, it’s super duper steep, and it also gets a super duper lot of snow fall every year — an average of 650 inches, according to the resort’s website. Of course that same web page says it’s good for beginners too, so I’m not sure how much I believe it.

It’s steep as hell.

I Took My Holga Down to the Homer Boat Harbor

Fall time in the Homer Small Boat Harbor with my dog Turtle. Homer, Alaska.

The Holga crappy plastic film camera has a sort of cult following. It’s been a staple in art kid backpacks for generations now, and for pretty good reason. It’s cheap construction, simple lens, and penchant for producing unique images with vignetting, light leaks, and soft focus lends itself to the artsy fartsy side of photography. You never really know what you’re going to get, and that’s the fun of it.

The camera’s plastic construction even feels like you’re holding a toy, and in turn I find myself taking my photography a lot less serious, taking more chances, and often being surprised by the images that come out the other side. Does every shot come out perfect? No. Not even close. Some of them aren’t even usable (Although that’s not really the camera’s fault. It’s simple make means that if you hear the shutter “click” then it took the photo. The rest is up to you.), but the vast majority of the frames seem to have a lot of beauty in their imperfections.

How I Built a Darkroom in Rural Alaska for $37

I turned my spare bathroom into a photographic darkroom. My wife is super thrilled about it…

Ever since I moved to Homer, Alaska in 2017 I’ve dreamed of having something like a community darkroom to print my mediocre film photographs and waste away long winter hours. Homer is a pretty artsy town, and I think there might be enough interest to keep something like that going on a small scale.

Well, this winter I took the first steps to hopefully making that dream a reality — I built a darkroom in our spare bathroom at home. It took me about 2 weeks to track down everything I needed, and thanks to a couple of generous donations I spent a total of about $37 putting everything together.