Cruising Thomas Bay, Alaska

The Bay of Death – Devil’s Country

Thomas BayThomas Bay is located in southeast Alaska. It lies northeast of Petersburg, Alaska and the Baird Glacier drains into the bay. Thomas Bay, Alaska, is known for two things, neither of them good. Thomas Bay also known as “The Bay of Death” since Tlingit Native village was obliterated by a massive landslide in 1750. On that day, more than 500 people died in what came to be called Geey Nana, or “The Bay of Death.”

It also has gained the name of “Devil’s Country”  because white prospectors reported sightings of “kushtaka,” shapeshifting creatures of Tlingit legend that can take the form of either man or otter. In 1900, the first documented account of the legendary devil creatures was written by Harry D. Colp. Harry Colp and three of his prospecting friends who are simply known as Charlie, John, and Fred, were staying in Wrangell, Alaska. As the story goes, Charlie received word from a native local of an area to mine for gold. Charlie went to check out the native man’s story of the gold that was to be found in the mountains in May 1900. By the time he returned, June 1900, he arrived without a coat or his hat, and his canoe was empty, except for a large piece of quartz.


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