As Soon as I Saw Kachemak Bay by Anette Coggins

As soon as I saw Kachemak Bay, I knew I wanted to stay.

Nature had created a beautiful Claude Monet painting, and I couldn’t help but admire it. The spectacular landscape showed all the colors of early autumn everywhere I looked. It was late August, and the lush valleys around me were covered with fields of fireweed. This bright magenta plant contrasted beautifully with the greens and yellows. I was spellbound by the sight offered to me as I took a leisurely stroll along Bishop’s Beach at low tide. To the south, on the other side of Kachemak Bay, lay the turquoise glaciers in the deep valleys of the Kenai Mountains. With an unobstructed view of Cook Inlet to the west, I noticed a perfectly formed volcano on the horizon. Often active, Augustine Island loomed high in Kamishak Bay, exposed to Cook Inlet’s powerful tidal currents, some of the most violent in the world. The island’s shape reminded me of a round hat with a wide brim. I could hardly believe my luck in stumbling upon this Alaskan Shangri-La. The calm sea breeze, smelling of fresh fish and tidal kelp, refreshed my already invigorated senses. Occasionally, a seal would poke its head out of the water for a breath of air. I couldn’t miss the fist-sized chunks of coal that littered the beach, born from the sedimentary, mud-packed bluff that followed the shoreline. I turned back with the rapidly rising tide. Bald eagles soared silently through the air, not flapping their wings for the longest stretch, playing in the updraft, and observing me indifferently.

Many years and a lifetime later, my husband and I swapped stories over crispy baked salmon with old friends. We all had a hearty laugh about when we arrived young and green in Alaska and the wild adventures we had survived unscathed. Then someone exclaimed excitedly, “We should write these great stories down, or they will just vanish into thin air! We must keep these experiences alive and tell how life used to be. Boy, didn’t we often wing it in our early twenties and not mind roughing it out? Ha!”

Why write? It seemed desirable to capture life’s joys and sad moments and explore how experiences had shaped us. People have touched us in so many ways. After my children left for college, I was in my late fifties and felt the void as a mother. Life had slowed, and a chance to jot down those long overdue stories presented itself. “Maybe I could even publish a memoir,” I was dreaming.

Well, it was easier said than written because I soon realized that composing a good tale can be rather tricky. A few months into the task, I was nearly bagging it with all the frustration of tackling the craft. Before I was ready to quit, family and friends came to my rescue. They patiently read my early drafts and encouraged me to continue writing. One fine compliment I fondly remember from my sister-in-law, Krissie: “Thank God you’re getting better!”

I’m very grateful for all my adventures.


Anette Coggins traveled to Alaska as a young woman in 1988 to seek adventure. There, she found a home and a husband and raised a family. Her memoir Beyond the Wild Horizon has been in the making since 2020. A few of her short stories spanning over thirty years have been published in local magazines in Prescott, Arizona, where she now spends her winters with family. Anette and her husband have mined for gold in Nome, Alaska, every summer since 1992.

9 thoughts on “As Soon as I Saw Kachemak Bay by Anette Coggins”

  1. Its like you read my thoughts! You seem to know a
    lot about this, such as you wrote the book in it or something.
    I believe that you can do with a few percent to force the message house
    a bit, however other than that, that is fantastic blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

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    1. Anette Coggins

      Hi Terrell
      I am glad you enjoyed my message.
      I truly hope you can keep alive your special moments too.

  2. Shelley Deromedi

    I love this, Anette. I can see it in my minds eye and wish I could see it in person.

  3. Anette writes with such descriptive words that l can easily imagine the sights, sounds and smells of her surroundings.

  4. Writing is such a beautiful way to spark the imagination, and now I am inspired to write my own stories not to be forgotten.

    1. Anette Coggins

      Dear Nadja
      It has been a rewarding journey.
      It seems important to keep the past alive for future generations. Try not to loose courage because its gets hard at times to write well.
      Good Luck and Thanks

  5. Shelby Waterhouse

    I too have experienced the beauty of the places Anette has described! It brought back all the memories that are stored in my heart! I personally know Anette & she is a wonderfully talented woman who accomplished what ever she takes on! This is only a start for her writing talents!

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