Nikiski Bay, Cook Inlet

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Nikiski Bay, Cook Inlet

by | Feb 1, 2020

Nikiski Bay, formerly known as Nikishka Bay, is a bight in Upper Cook Inlet that extends southwest for 4 miles (6.5 km) from Boulder Point along the southeast shore of Gompertz Channel, 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the community of Nikiski and about 14 miles (22.6 km) north of Kenai, Alaska. The name is derived from the village, or perhaps several small villages, formerly located here. The village of Nikishka was an Athabaskan Dena’ina village first reported in 1930 by Frederica de Laguna. The name was altered to Nikiski in 1990.

Nikiski Bay is the base of operations for oilfield supply vessels servicing and supporting the oil and gas platforms in Upper Cook Inlet. The vessels operate year-round in some of the most extreme and dangerous conditions because of the winter ice floes that drift with and at the velocity of the tidal currents. The hazards in Cook Inlet include a tidal range that often exceeds 30 feet (9 m), currents of over 6 knots (3 mps), extreme cold (-28 C), and sea ice coverage up to 100% in winter months.

On January 15, 2009, the offshore supply vessel Monarch was pinned by ice against the Granite Point oil platform on the northwestern side of Cook Inlet. Miraculously, all seven crew members escaped by climbing from the bow of the sinking ship onto the platform catwalk. The vessel was not salvaged and the wreck now lies upside down at the base of the platform. Read more here and here. Explore more of Nikiski Bay here:

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