Learning about an animal often means venturing into its home, which explains why polite naturalists always wipe their feet before entering the forest. Make yourself at home in another habitat with today's Groupon: for $42, you get one adult admission to a narrated boat tour of Gull Island and Kachemak Bay from Homer Ocean Charters, departing from the Cannery Row Boardwalk in Homer (an $86 value, tax included). Admission for children under 12 is regularly priced at $30 before tax. This Groupon expires September 8, 2011.
A 2.5-hour cruise from Homer Ocean Charters reveals the splendor of the bird rookery at Gull Island and the oceanic wildlife of Kachemak Bay. Absorb scenic views in comfort aboard the Northern Star, a vessel with a warm enclosed cabin and large viewing windows. During the tour, a guide spouts feathery tidbits about eight species of seabirds and their nesting grounds. Riders can learn the real name of the winged creatures that their substitute biology teachers called bluish thingamajigs, as well as the diets, habits, and migratory patterns of species such as black-legged kittiwakes and red-faced cormorants.
While coasting through Kachemak Bay, cruises drift past a 60-foot rock formation and may encounter such nautical wonders as whales and porpoises before reaching Eldred Passage and Tutka Bay. During a stop at Gull Island, voyagers can step out of the cabin to snap photographs of avian wildlife or eyeball the depth of the water and pretend they know what "mark twain" means. Homer Ocean Charters refuels expeditioners with a light snack and bottled water during each educational voyage. The cruise departs at 1 p.m. and returns at 3:30 p.m.
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