History of Kachemak Bay

The beautiful water that you see from The Lodge at Otter Cove is Kachemak Bay and it has a very interesting history. The Homer Spit, Cohen Island, Yukon Island, Sadie Cove, Tutka Bay and Seldovia are all areas easily seen and explored just minutes from The Lodge’s dock.

According to W H Dall, “KA” means water, “CHEK” means cliff and “MAK” is an intensive suffix meaning great or large.  Another interpretation of the word Kachemak is “Smokey Bay”. It is supposedly from the Alutiiq word meaning smoldering coal that used to fill the bay with smoke. Kachemak Bay is about 40 miles long and fed by the Fox River.

The “Spit” is a narrow peninsula jutting out 4.5 miles into Kachemak Bay, located in Homer. This town is a 20 minute boat ride from the pier of The Lodge. There are 2 different theories of the origins of the spit. The spit was either pushed into place by receding glaciers or tidal currents from the Cook Inlet have built up land over the centuries. 

Cohen Island was named after a local trader who was operating here in the 1880s.  Its shores are lined with kelp beds and filled with sea otters.

Yukon Island is named after W H Dall’s Ship. It is a National Historic Landmark. It has a major shell midden site.  A shell midden is the remains of meals of shellfish once eaten by Aboriginal people. This site dates back 1500 years.

Sadie Cove was named by W H Dall after Sarah “Sadie” Eldred, the wife of Marcus Baker who was a naturalist that accompanied Dall in 1872 to collect topographic and hydrographic data. Sadie cove is a fjord about one mile wide and eight miles long.

TUT’KA’A is from the Dena’ina Athabascan word meaning big enclosed water.  Tutka Bay is also a fjord that can reach depths of 550 ft. There is a beautiful 100 ft waterfall at the head of the bay.

Seldovia is a town 11 miles south of The Lodge at Otter Cove. The town’s original Russian translation means Herring Bay. At one time Seldovia was home to over 2,000 residents, it now has about 300 year-round residents.  The Harbor was once an important first stop for ships sailing from Kodiak and Seward to points outside the Cook Inlet. Seldovia is home to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church which was built in 1820.  The “Otterbahn Trail” is one of the hikes we can explore when going to Seldovia.