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Kodiak Maritime Museum
Banner photos courtesy Kodiak Historical Society Slifer Collection, 70-167-17-2 Learn Collection, 386-66
Historic Photos of Kodiak
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Kodiak – A Bond with the Sea

As the severed spine of the Kenai Mountain Range, Kodiak Island, which is often called the Emerald Isle, is a sentinel adrift in the Gulf of Alaska. Beseiged by some of the earth’s most violent seas, the Kodiak Archipelago begins 90 miles southwest of the Kenai Peninsula.

The people of this place have bonded with the sea for centuries, venturing out to harvest the bounty of neighboring waters. Armed with sophisticated fishing gear, today’s vessels have long replaced the simple Native kayaks and high masted sailing ships of the past. But one thing remains constant – the gaping maw of the sea. Its towering waves – its teeth – await boats intent on catching a variety of creatures hidden deep within.

Map of KodiakIn this place, the perils of the land occasionally rival those of the sea. These islands are anchored in the Aleutian Trench where the Pacific Plate slowly slips beneath the American Plate. These grinding plates yield tremors, earthquakes, and tsunamis – reminding residents of the precarious nature of their outpost islands.

So why do the people of these islands live and work in such a challenging place? It’s the sea. It’s an ancient passion for life on the open ocean.

Ancient Birth
Cloaked in grinding ice, the unborn Kodiak Island began to emerge ten thousand years ago as the massive glaciers released their grip. When the ice was gone, chiseled peaks, fjord-like bays, rocky islets, and wide valleys remained. This is Kodiak today.

Off shore waters are now influenced by ocean upwelling and freshwater run-off. The result is a nutrient-rich mixture that supports massive phyto- and zoo-plankton populations – basic building blocks of marine life. This is the foundation of the ocean life-pyramid so vital to the people who live here.

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Kodiak Waterfront Guide

You'll find this information and much more in our Kodiak Waterfront Guide booklet.



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This website was developed with funding from the Kodiak Island Borough