Cape Saint Elias, Kayak Island

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Cape Saint Elias, Kayak Island

by | Mar 4, 2020

Cape Saint Elias is a prominent headland on the southwest end of Kayak Island, 207 miles (334 km) southeast of Anchorage and 62 miles (100 km) southeast of Cordova, Alaska. The headland was named by Vitus Bering on July 20, 1741, the day of Saint Elias. Kayak Island is uninhabited and extends 20 miles (32 km) into the Gulf of Alaska, separated from the mainland by a channel 4 miles (6.5 km) wide.

The island was called “Kayak” by the Russians because of the fancied resemblance of its outline to a skin canoe. Captain James Cook visited the island on May 12, 1778, and buried a bottle with a paper and two small pieces of silver given to him by Dr. Kaye, the chaplain of King George III of England, for this purpose. Because of this, Captain Cook named the island “Kaye’s Island”.

The defining feature of Cape Saint Elias is Pinnacle Rock that stands a half-mile off the western end of the cape like a giant exclamation point. Due to hidden rocks and reefs, the waters around the cape were regarded as one of the most dangerous points along the entire Alaskan coast. The navigation light was constructed in 1915 and has been automated since 1974. The building is now leased by the Cape Saint Elias Lightkeepers Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, restoring and sharing the lighthouse. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cape Saint Elias here:

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