Pauloff Harbor is an abandoned cod fishing station on the west shore of Pavlof Harbor, on the north coast of Sanak Island, Alaska. A post office was established here in 1949, and is probably responsible for establishing the present spelling of the name which varies from that of the adjacent harbor.
Sanak Island is in the Fox Islands group of the Aleutian Islands. The island is 40 air miles (65 km) southeast of False Pass, and 45 miles (72 km) southwest of King Cove on the Alaska Peninsula. Like many of the other Aleutian Islands, Sanak was inhabited by Aleut people for thousands of years. In 1828, the administrators of Russian-America removed the island’s population to the Alaska Peninsula in order to preserve the sea otter hunting grounds in the surrounding waters. Although Sanak is no longer inhabited, the island is still owned by its former residents who mostly live in Sand Point and King Cove and visit the island occasionally to harvest feral cattle. Travel to the island is currently done by fishing vessel, and the trip takes about five hours from King Cove.
The fishing banks around Sanak are considered to be some of the richest in Alaska. Sanak was the center of sea otter hunting until otters were locally depleted. Later, it became the center for cod fishing. The community of Pauloff Harbor was established as a codfish station in 1886. In 1900, there was a fishing station, and the only store on the island where supplies could be obtained. A U.S. post office was established in 1949 and mail was delivered by the MV Expansion. A few cattlemen lived here in the 1970’s but this business failed, and the cattle and all the land on Sanak now belong to the Sanak Corporation based in Sand Point. Read more here and here. Explore more of Pauloff Harbor and Sanak Island here: