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Chapter 2:


On July 15, 1741, Alexei Chirikov, commander of St. Paul, one of the ships of the second Bering expedition, recorded sighting what has been assumed to be Lisianski Inlet on the northwest coast of Chichagof Island. He reported a broad harbor at 57 degrees 15 minutes north latitude. Ten armed men in a longboat were sent ashore to explore the land. Days passed and the men failed to return. A second boat set out, but it too disappeared. Smoke from fires onshore could be seen, but three weeks passed and nothing was seen of the missing men. Some Natives in two small canoes paddled out from the bay where the boats had gone. When Chirikov tried to entice the people in the canoes to come aboard St. Paul, both canoes turned away. On July 27, Chirikov and his officers decided to return to Kamchatka. St. Paul had no small boats left and without them it was impossible to send parties ashore to obtain critically-needed fresh water. [67]

After the existence of land in the North Pacific was documented, navigators from several different European countries set sail to explore the Northwest Coast. Possibly the next to see Baranof Island was Don Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, a Spanish navigator. In August 1775 he sailed his 36-foot schooner Sonora into today's Krestof Bay, which he called Port Guadalupe. Quadra wrote of a mountain "of the most regular and beautiful form I have ever seen." He named the mountain San Jacinto. [68]

Three years later the famous British explorer, Capt. James Cook, named the peak Mount Edgecumbe, the name that is used today. The Russians called the mountain Saint Lazaria, assuming the peak was the one seen by Chirikov and so named by him. Cook's crew brought to the world's attention sea otter pelts taken from animals found in the waters of the North Pacific. Be cause of its extraordinarily glossy sheen and its fluffiness, the sea otter pelt was highly valued by the Chinese. The sea otter brought the Tlingits on Baranof Island into contact with Euro-Americans. [69]

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Last Updated: 04-Nov-2000