Halibut Cove, Ismailof Island

Halibut Cove, Ismailof Island

by | May 18, 2020

Halibut Cove is a small community lining the shores of The Narrows, a protected waterway separating Ismailof Island and the mainland on the southeast shore of Kachemak Bay, about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Seldovia and 11 miles (18 km) east-southeast of Homer, Alaska. The island is actually two islands connected by a .25 mile (.36 km) long sand and gravel spit. The island was named for Captain Gerasim Izmailov of the Imperial Russian Navy who in 1789 was the first European to explore and map the Kenai Peninsula.

This area was historically occupied by Dena’ina people, the early Athabaskan culture of Cook Inlet. In 1911, a herring fishery in Halibut Cove started the European settlement and a population boom. The fishery employed as many as 1,000 people during the height of the season. A town and herring salteries sprang up, and docks were built to accommodate the steamers that came to load kegs of salted fish. By 1927, pollution had destroyed the herring spawning grounds, and by 1928 the herring were gone and the boom was over. Halibut Cove became a ghost town with only a few tenacious old-timers remaining.

In 1948, Clem Tillion bought a homestead in Halibut Cove and over many years fostered the redeveloping community. He started a regular mailboat service with the Stormbird, and a daily ferry from Homer on the Danny J. In 1984, The Saltry restaurant was opened in a building on piles overlooking The Narrows. Today the community supports thriving seasonal tourist services, as well as resident artists, oyster farmers, and a few that still fish commercially for salmon, halibut, and cod. Read more here and here. Explore more of Ismailof Island here:

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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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