Sukhoi Bay, Cape Douglas

Sukhoi Bay, Cape Douglas

by | Jan 25, 2019

Sukhoi Bay is on Cape Douglas, at the entrance to Cook Inlet, in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The name is a transliteration by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey from the Russian “Zaliv Sukhoi,” meaning “Dry Bay”. Cape Douglas is a headland on the Alaska Peninsula in Shelikof Strait, about 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Augustine Island, and 84 miles (135 km) southwest of Homer. The name was given by Captain James Cook on May 25, 1778, to honor Dr. John Douglas, Canon of Windsor. The Native name for the cape was given as Kukuak or Koukhat.

Mount Katmai, Mount Douglas, and other glaciated volcanic peaks form the crest of the rugged Aleutian Range on the Alaska Peninsula separating the Bering Sea from the Pacific Ocean. Passes through the mountains, especially from Katmai Bay, Hallo Bay, and north of Cape Chiniak into the upper Naknek drainage were important routes for trade and travel. The Pacific shoreline of Katmai National Park and Preserve was occupied by indigenous populations for at least 7,000 years, but all settlements along the Katmai coast were deserted after the massive eruption of the Katmai Novarupta volcano in 1912.

The pattern of settlement along the coast may have been distorted by Russian colonial control and its imposed focus on maritime fur production. Although no historic records of Alutiiq residence at Cape Douglas have been located, it is likely to have been a summer camping place for sea otter hunters. During the winter months of October through March, coastal residents generally undertook relatively few subsistence activities and concentrated in large and long-established villages, such as Katmai and Douglas Village (Kaguyak), where they consumed a diet of dried salmon, seal oil, berries, and other stored foods. Almost every family had its own dwelling on the seashore and near streams and changed their locations and dwellings with the seasons. In the spring they stayed near streams with early salmon runs, and in winter in shallow bays and inlets where they could find protected beaches for boat landings, open views for monitoring sea mammals and the approach of enemies, and access to freshwater and food. The different seasons made different locations or different types of dwellings necessary. Impermanent shelters such as skin tents overturned boats, and small plank sheds were used for travel and subsistence camps, while winter or year-round base villages consisted of semi-subterranean dwellings (barabaras) that could shelter as many as 15–20 occupants. Read more here and here. Explore more of Sukhoi Bay and Cape Douglas here:

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