Welcome to Ouzinkie
Ouzinkie is an Alutiiq village located on Spruce Island, only a 10 minute flight from Kodiak. Charter boats can pick you up in Kodiak, and get you to Ouzinkie in approximately 25 minutes, depending on whether or not you’re tempted to stop and go fishing along the way. There are approximately 192 residents in Ouzinkie. Like the name Spruce Island, Ouzinkie is thick in Sitka Spruce tree forests and is the only Alutiiq village with it's own private island. The island is between Marmot and Monashka Bay, where baleen, humpback, fin, gray whales and orcas pass by. Ouzinkie is unique because it has no bears on the island.
Ouzinkie was once a retirement community originally founded by the Russian-American Company in the early 1800’s. In the 1920’s, Ouzinkie was filled with an overabundance of Seafood Processors, until the 1964 earthquake and tsunami destroyed the processors and wiped out many local fishing boats.
The Russian Orthodox heritage is very strong. You can visit the Church of Nativity of our Lord; the Russian Orthodox Church (built in 1898) it is a National Historic Landmark. Nearby, is Saint Herman’s Chapel, located in Monks Lagoon.
History of Saint Herman
Saint Herman was a Russian Orthodox monk born in Russia, in 1756. He was one of seven monks, although never ordained, chosen to begin a mission into the Alaska territory, to convert the Aleuts. They arrived on Kodiak Island, September 24th, 1794 aboard a ship called The Three Hierarchs. St. Herman found it to be his duty to protect the natives from abuse and exploitation and helped defend them from the cruelty of those who ran the Russian colonies. All the monks faced harsh penalties for defending the natives and were either abused, martyred for their faith, died of natural causes, or returned back to Russia. St. Herman was the only monk of the original seven who stayed. Between 1808-1818, he lived on Spruce Island, built a small chapel, school, guest house, and an experimental garden; where he took care of the orphans of the island. He loved the people, took care of the sick and dying, and was said to have a “love so genuine that he could see into the hearts of his spiritual children and help them.” (Wikipedia: Herman of Alaska)
When there was a tidal wave, he placed an icon on the beach and proclaimed that the waves would not pass it, and the wave did not. He died in November 15th, 1837 and was later made a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970.
In July of 2003, a 144 year old shipwreck was discovered just 80 feet below Monks Lagoon. It was identified to be the ship Kad’yak (used for the Russian-American Company) and at the time was carrying 350 tons of ice, heading for San Francisco. The ship was built in 1851, in Lubeck Germany. It was 132 feet and constructed from bark. It is well preserved by the Alaskan cold waters. (NOAA news)