Story last updated at 2:02 p.m. Thursday, May 9, 2002

Blessing the fleet
photo: news
  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Wilma Williams tells the crowd a story about past mariners.  
More than 50 people gathered Sunday at the Seafarer's Memorial on the Homer Spit to witness the annual Blessing of the Fleet.

The event brings people together to offer prayers for the safe passage of local mariners heading out to fishing grounds and to honor those lost at sea. The blessing culminates with the placing of a memorial wreath into Kachemak Bay to remember someone lost in the past year.

photo: news
  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Kayak survivor Gabe Kehn, with crutches, approaches the beach to toss a memorial wreath into the sea.  
The Homer area lost two people in separate accidents on the water over the past 12 months. In January, Bethany Lynn died in a kayaking accident on the south side of Kachemak Bay. Her boyfriend, Gabe Kehn, survived the accident. In March, 16-year-old Anthony Reutov of Voznesenka was killed in a fishing accident off the Kenai Peninsula's outer coast.

Kehn, who is still on crutches after suffering frostbite to his feet, placed a wreath into the water in Lynn's memory.

photo: news
  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Coast Guard Lt. Mark McManus addresses the gathering.  
The Seafarer's Memorial enshrines the names of 63 mariners who lost their lives in Alaska's unforgiving waters.