Kaigani Point, Long Island

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Kaigani Point, Long Island

by | May 12, 2018

Kaigani Point is at the southwest tip of Long Island, about 100 miles (161 km) northwest of Prince Rupert and 56 miles (90 km) southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska. The name is derived from Kaigani Strait, and the Kaigani Haida people, and published by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1883 as “Kai-gah-nee Point”.

Long Island is in the Alexander Archipelago and lies across the Kaigani Strait from the southern portion of Dall Island and west of the southern part of Prince of Wales Island. Directly to its north is Sukkwan Island. Long Island forms part of the western boundary of Cordova Bay and has a land area of 28,698 acres (11,614 ha). It was home to a large logging camp in the 1980s, including a three-room schoolhouse, but with the closure of the camp in 2000, the island now has no permanent population. The logging camp was located near the historical location of the Kaigani Haida village of Howkan, which may originally have been a winter residence. During the 19th century, it was cited variously as having 300-500 residents.

Elmo Wortman and his three children moved to the remote coastline of southeast Alaska in the mid-1970s. In February 1979, the family was sailing back to Alaska from Prince Rupert, British Columbia in a home-built boat of 33 feet (10 m) when they were caught in a massive storm that left them shipwrecked on Kaigani Point. They were miles from help and had no hope of rescue. Caught in freezing mid-winter weather with almost no food, a sail as their only shelter, and a leaky dinghy that could only carry two people safely, the chance of survival was almost nonexistent. Elmo knew there was only one possibility of making it out alive – they had to paddle north for 20 miles (32 km) to a hut at Rose Inlet, on Dall Island, that was frequented by trappers during winter. Read the news article about their survival here. Elmo wrote about this epic story in the book “Almost Too Late“, and this was made into a feature film called “Anything to Survive“. Explore more of Kaigani Point and Long Island here:

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