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Roadtrippin’: Sleeping aboard a ship

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 4:00 PM AKDT
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HOMER, Alaska (KTUU) - On a nice day, Homer can feel like a bit of a dream as one gazes across Kachemak Bay and into the neighboring mountains. While driving along the Homer Spit, tourists and residents alike may be challenged to not dream of living a life on one of the many boats going in and out of the harbor.

That’s a dream people can live out at the Double Eagle — minus the waves.

It’s an incredible place to stay with Alaska Adventure Cabins, where visitors trade the rocking of the water with breathtaking views of the bay from the side of a bluff along the Sterling Highway.

It’s a full-sized shrimp boat that’s been remodeled to be a cozy getaway for tourists in the summer and private events in the winter. The ship is there all thanks to Bryan Zak and his wife Karen.

The Double Eagle may be stuck on land now, but the boat has a well traveled history. The Zaks said the first waters it sailed on were in the Gulf of Mexico after being built in Tampa, Florida.

It used to be a shrimp boat, then the Exxon Valdez oil spill happened. That’s when they said it came to Alaska waters where it served as a shuttle during the cleanup.

From there, it went back to helping anglers catch fish in Homer before it was retired. That’s when it came into the Zaks’ lives in 2002.

“They were gonna either sink it or burn it. And so Bryan decided to buy it for little of nothing,” Karen said. “Not knowing what it would cost to put the project together.”

It was a lot of work. Bryan Zak, a former mayor of Homer, said they needed a team of contractors with heavy equipment to move it down the steep hill where it resides now. Then they had to completely gut the boat of all the machinery that made it work and all the gunk that accumulated over the years.

Now, it’s amazing how comfortable it is while still feeling like one is sleeping on a boat.

There are three different levels. Right when visitors walk in, there’s a comfortable living room that goes into a kitchen. There’s a nice stove, and even TV, although with the views right out the window, visitors probably won’t want to turn it on. All the way in the front, the helm remains intact with the original steering wheel and gears.

Below deck is the master bedroom with a comfortable bed and private deck addition. That’s where the best shower onboard is, with a sun window in place of where moving parts of the boat used to be.

The top deck is the crown jewel, said the Zaks. There is a spacious deck with plenty of chairs for people to sit in and gaze at the water and mountains in front of them under the mast. Included is a half bath, and an extra private bedroom.

The best bonus of the place is the non-human visitors. The name “Double Eagle” couldn’t be more appropriate as bald eagles are a common sight, swooping around the bluff, according to the Zaks.

“All people who come here are just blown away,” Bryan Zak said.

Based on the multiple travel logs filled with nothing but good things inside, he’s onto something. In fact, the Zaks said that a recent visitor was so blown away by her stay she got herself a job in Homer and is moving there this summer.

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