Sadie Cove, Kachemak Bay

Sadie Cove, Kachemak Bay

by | Mar 13, 2023

Sadie Cove is a deglaciated fjord that extends generally northwest for 6.4 miles (10 km) from the mouth of the Sadie River to Eldred Passage on the southeastern shore of Kachemak Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, about 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Homer and 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Seldovia, Alaska. The fjord is an estuary with a watershed of 14,258 acres (5,770 ha) on the western flank of the Kenai Mountains between Tutka Bay to the south and the Wosnesenski River to the north. The rocks surrounding the fjord represent the McHugh Formation and comprise blocks of massive conglomerate, siltstone, and greywacke. The fjord was named in 1880 by William H. Dall of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey for Sarah Elizabeth “Sadie” Eldred, the wife of Marcus Baker. Baker was trained as a mathemetician and theoretical astronomer and was invited to accompany Dall in 1872 on an expedition to Alaska to collect topographic and hydrographic data. He continued to go with Dall to Alaska every year until 1888 when he co-founded the National Geographic Society.

Prehistoric pictographs or rock paintings have been discovered at four rock shelters in Kachemak Bay at Chugachik Island, Bear Island, Peterson Bay, and Sadie Cove. These have been the subject of study by anthropologists and archaeologists since the 1930s, starting with Cornelius Osgood and Federica de Laguna. Most of the paintings are red suggesting the use of hematite, ochre, or baked shale as the coloring agent. The pictographs mainly depict animals such as marine and terrestrial mammals, fishes, and birds; and are similar to those of Tuxedni Bay and Clam Cove, on the western shore of Cook Inlet. Those in Sadie Cove clearly show the large dorsal fin of orca whales and less defined shapes of land mammals. They were probably made by people of the Kachemak Tradition that inhabited the area from about 1000 BC to 1000 AD and had a shamanistic ritual function.

On the north shore of Sadie Cove, there is a small cluster of buildings occupying a private inholding in Kachemak Bay State Park. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the Sadie Cove Boatworks was a sawmill and boat shop that salvaged beach logs and milled lumber. The shop produced a series of wooden boats including work skiffs, small sailboats, and a commercial fishing schooner 42 feet (12 m) long. In the 1970s old-growth western hemlock and Sitka spruce were cut from the northern Gulf of Alaska coastal forests and over 6 million board feet were exported every three weeks. Alaska State law required that cut logs were locally milled so they were hauled to tidewater, assembled into huge rafts or loaded onto barges, and then towed to industrial sawmills, one of which was located in neighboring Jakolof Bay. Many logs escaped during storms and went adrift to eventually be salvaged by local residents. The operation in Sadie Cove milled these drift logs into lumber for use in local construction projects, and the best straight-grained spruce was saved for boat lumber. Read more here and here. Read more about the boat shop in Woodenboat Magazine Issue 124 Page 68. Explore more of Sadie Cove and Kachemak Bay here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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