Located on the remote Popof Island near where the Alaska Peninsula meets the Aleutian Island chain, Sand Point is one home to the largest fishing fleet in the Aleutian Islands.
About Sand Point
Established in 1898 by a San Francisco-based fish processor, the community of Sand Point is also easily identifiable for its Russian heritage. Like many coastal communities in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, many residents still adhere to the Russian Orthodox religion. Sand Point’s picturesque Russian Orthodox church was built in 1933.
The island is basically treeless, with the exception of tree planted long ago by the Russians, and is unusual for its many large, sandy beaches. Most Alaska coastal towns have rocky beaches, but in Sand Point, several giant sand beaches make for excellent walking and beachcombing.
Things to do
The island has a fantastic network of hiking trails, and the wildlife viewing isn’t bad either. Birds, marine mammals and even a herd of bison call the island home. On the water, sea kayaking along the island’s shoreline is an excellent way to view marine life and sea birds. Of course, the commercial fishing industry has chosen Sand Point for a reason – the fishing in the area is excellent, particularly for halibut, pollock, cod and salmon. Charter boats are available for hire to take visitors fishing.
Despite its remote location and tiny size, the community is very accessible due to the cargo loads of fish that fly out of town each day. Jet service from Anchorage is regularly scheduled. In the summer, the Alaska Marine Highway stops at Sand Point twice a month, and many visitors take the seven-day voyage from Homer to Unalaska/Dutch Harbor just for the experience.
St Nicholas Chapel
St Nicholas Chapel, a Russian Orthodox churchs built in 1933, is the crowning jewel of Sand Point and be visited even during the stopover with the Alaska Marine Highway ferry.
Birding is good around Sand Point as Popof Island is home to a large population of bald eagles, puffins, cormorants and kittiwakes. In the harbor and hauling out on the beaches are otters, sea lions, and seals. Migrating whales are also seen during the summer months in Popof Strait and local charter boat captains can arrange wildlife cruises to view them.