Moss Harbor, China Poot Bay

Moss Harbor, China Poot Bay

by | Sep 23, 2019

Moss Harbor is a small lagoon at the head of China Poot Bay, 12.6 miles (20 km) southeast of Homer, Alaska. China Poot Bay is nearly dry at low water, and a narrow channel along the northeast side of the bay terminates at Moss Harbor. Locals transit the channel in skiffs near low water and in larger boats near high water to avoid the strong currents. A peninsula separates Moss Harbor from Peterson Bay and is connected to the mainland only at low tides by a narrow isthmus.

The peninsula between China Poot Bay and Peterson Bay is now the location of a wilderness lodge and a field station for naturalists. In the early 19th century this peninsula was inhabited by the Dena’ina, a historical Native people of the Cook Inlet region. This also may have been the location of the lost village of Soonroodna visited in 1883 by Johan Adrian Jacobsen, a Norwegian ethnologist, and adventurer. Starting in mid-1881, Jacobsen was hired by the Berlin Museum für Völkerkunde to gather ethnographic objects and other specimens for a collection of disappearing cultures. His travels took him from the Arctic to South America, North America, Korea, Japan, Siberia, and the Pacific Islands. While waiting at Alexandrovsk (now Nanwalek) for a ship that would take him to Kodiak, he hired a local guide to take him to what was left of Soonroodna, an ancient village reputedly located at the foot of the third glacier on the south side of Kachemak Bay and abandoned between 1792-1796. At the village site, he collected arrow and harpoon points, pottery, blades, and wooden masks.

In 2018, the Foundation for Prussian Cultural Heritage returned the Native artifacts to Alaska. Nine objects from the Berlin Ethnological Museum collection had come into their possession. The excavated items, including two broken masks, a cradle, and a wooden idol, had been brought by Jacobsen from Chenega Island in Prince William Sound and from Soonroodna in Kachemak Bay. They were determined to have been acquired through looting and not through an archaeological dig with approval, and the foundation decided to return the objects to the Chugach Alaska Corporation. Read more here and here. Explore more of Moss Harbor here:

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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. 

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