Royalty among us

His Majesty King Harald V of Norway visited Homer and Kachemak Bay on Tuesday as part of his visit to Alaska. An enthusiastic crowd of about 100 greeted him at the Homer Harbor load-launch ramp, many waving Norwegian flags and wearing Norwegian sweaters. Several fishing boats also hung Norwegian flags.

King Harald personally greeted Margit Andersson, 102, who had waited several hours with her son, Ole, and other family, to see him.

“She was really quite amazed she had met the King,” said Ole Andersson. “He seemed quite gentle with her … It was quite an honor he recognized her.”

The King also toured Kachemak Bay to learn about the local effects of climate change. Scientists Heather Renner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Angela Doroff of the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve briefed him onboard the Rainbow Connection as it motored to and from Tutka Bay.

“He was most interested and supportive of science. He asked great questions,” Renner said. “It was great to see his enthusiasm with science. … It was a wide-open discussion about climate change.”

Doroff said His Majesty was particularly interested in the lower Kenai Peninsula’s spruce-bark beetle infestation of the 1990s.

“He was a lot about ‘cut to the chase. You live here. What do you see?’” Doroff said of her conversation with King Harald V.

The Norwegian king, the Norwegian and Alaska press, and his entourage flew down from Anchorage to Homer in four Blackhawk helicopters operated by the Alaska Army National Guard, 1/207th Aviation. Under royal protocol, he visited at the invitation of Homer Mayor Beth Wythe, who officially welcomed him at the Homer Airport and accompanied him across the bay. Wythe gave His Majesty the key to the city. King Harald also visited with Norwegian Ambassador to the United States, Kåre Aas. Kachemak Bay Campus Director Carol Swartz, who helped organize the trip, gave Aas a copy of “Kachemak Bay, Alaska,” a pictorial and text overview of Kachemak Bay published by the Homer Foundation. The group ate lunch at Tutka Bay Lodge and were personally greeted by lodge owner Kirsten Dixon. His Majesty returned to Anchorage on Tuesday for a dinner with Gov. Bill Walker.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

 

Fishermen wave Norwegian banners as King Harald V passes by on the Rainbow Connection in the Homer Harbor.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

Fishermen wave Norwegian banners as King Harald V passes by on the Rainbow Connection in the Homer Harbor.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

The Spurkland family waves from the F/V Centurion as King Harald V leaves the Homer Harbor on the Rainbow Connection on Tuesday.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

The Spurkland family waves from the F/V Centurion as King Harald V leaves the Homer Harbor on the Rainbow Connection on Tuesday.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

The P/V Augustine passes by the M/V Statendam as the Alaska Public Safety boat leaves the Homer Harbor on Tuesday. Troopers provided security for King Harald V on his visit to Homer.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

The P/V Augustine passes by the M/V Statendam as the Alaska Public Safety boat leaves the Homer Harbor on Tuesday. Troopers provided security for King Harald V on his visit to Homer.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

King Harald V, center, arrives at Tutka Bay Lodge with the Norwegian Ambassador to the United States, Kåre Aas, left, as lodge owner Kirsten Dixon, to his right, and Mandy Dixon escort him.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

King Harald V, center, arrives at Tutka Bay Lodge with the Norwegian Ambassador to the United States, Kåre Aas, left, as lodge owner Kirsten Dixon, to his right, and Mandy Dixon escort him.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

King Harald V, center, and  the Norwegian Ambassador to the United States, Kåre Aas, left, visit with Tutka Bay lodge owner Kirsten Dixon,  right, as Homer Mayor Beth Wythe, far left, watches.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

King Harald V, center, and the Norwegian Ambassador to the United States, Kåre Aas, left, visit with Tutka Bay lodge owner Kirsten Dixon, right, as Homer Mayor Beth Wythe, far left, watches.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

King Harald V poses for a photograph on the stern of the Rainbow Connection as it travels through Kachemak Bay on Tuesday morning.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

King Harald V poses for a photograph on the stern of the Rainbow Connection as it travels through Kachemak Bay on Tuesday morning.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

King Harald V poses for a photograph on the stern of the Rainbow Connection as it travels through Kachemak Bay on Tuesday morning.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

King Harald V poses for a photograph on the stern of the Rainbow Connection as it travels through Kachemak Bay on Tuesday morning.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

Elsa Otis, left, and Casey Otis, right, hold  Norwegian flags they made to greet Norwegian King Harald V on his visit to Homer on Tuesday.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

Elsa Otis, left, and Casey Otis, right, hold Norwegian flags they made to greet Norwegian King Harald V on his visit to Homer on Tuesday.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

Mark Restad, back, stands with his sons Espen, left, and Leif, right, as they wait to greet King Harald V at the Homer Harbor on Tuesday morning. The boys wear traditional Norwegian "bunad" clothing.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

Mark Restad, back, stands with his sons Espen, left, and Leif, right, as they wait to greet King Harald V at the Homer Harbor on Tuesday morning. The boys wear traditional Norwegian “bunad” clothing.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

Wearing Norwegian sweaters and waving Norwegian flags, people prepare to greet King Harald V on his arrival Tuesday in Homer. It was the first official visit to Homer of a Norwegian king.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

Wearing Norwegian sweaters and waving Norwegian flags, people prepare to greet King Harald V on his arrival Tuesday in Homer. It was the first official visit to Homer of a Norwegian king.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

People wave and cheer for King Harald V as he arrives at the Homer Harbor on Tuesday.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

People wave and cheer for King Harald V as he arrives at the Homer Harbor on Tuesday.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

King Harald V, center, in the green jacket greets people as he arrives at the Homer Harbor on Tuesday.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News

King Harald V, center, in the green jacket greets people as he arrives at the Homer Harbor on Tuesday.-Photo by Michael Armstrong; Homer News