St. Paul Island, the northernmost of the Pribilof Islands, is about 235 miles NW from Unimak Pass. The W and SW parts of St. Paul Island are high and mountainous, with precipitous cliffs at the coast. The rest of the island is a comparatively low, rolling plateau, with a number of extinct volcanic peaks scattered over its surface. Bogoslof Hill, 590 feet high, a conical crater near the center of the island, and Polovina Hill, double-peaked and 470 feet high, near the E end, are
conspicuous and the best landmarks in clear weather when coming from S. From this latter hill the island stretches away, in a low, narrow neck to Hutchinson Hill, about 100 feet high, on Northeast Point. W of Lukanin Bay the coast of the S side of the island is rocky, with bluffs at the points. The shore of the rest of the island is generally a sand beach, with rocks in the vicinities of the seal rookeries. A tall loran tower is about 2.2 miles NNE of the village of St. Paul, and an aerolight is about 1.1 miles E of the tower.
A rocky ledge covered 2.4 fathoms (4.4 m) with no visible kelp is 5 miles NE of Northeast Point.
Kelp-marked reefs extend about 0.4 mile SE from the two low points S of Northeast Point. A dangerous ledge with two rocks covered 1.4 fathoms is 1.1 miles N of Hutchinson Hill. With a moderate swell the sea breaks over these rocks.
On the N side of St. Paul Island, depths of 5 fathoms or more are 1 mile offshore. A shoal covered 2 fathoms is 7.5 milesWof St. Paul Island. Breakers extend 0.3 mile or more off Southwest Point. A dangerous ledge, usually marked by breakers, extends 0.6 mile SW and S from Reef Point, the S point of the island. Sea Lion Rock, about 0.3 mile S of Reef Point, is prominent when approaching the point from an E orW direction. A reef extends about 0.3 mile off Stony Point, the NE point of Lukanin Bay.
Pilotage,St.Paul: Pilotage, except for certain exempted vessels, is compulsory for all vessels navigating the waters of the State of Alaska. The Bering Sea is served by the Alaska Marine Pilots.
Anchorage: The usual anchorage at St. Paul Island is W of Village Cove between Zapadni Point and Reef Point in the vicinity of the 10-fathom curve. The bottom, in general, is sandy, but rocky bottom will be found in the vicinity of Zapadni Point and Tolstoi Point. Anchorage can be found NE from Reef Point, off Black Bluffs and East Landing, and in Lukanin Bay. Lukanin Bay has a sandy bottom and is used when Wswells make the Village Cove anchorage undesirable. From the Village Cove anchorage the village of St. Paul is obscured by a bluff although it is in full view from the Black Bluffs anchorage.
In the spring (April-May) as the ice edge moves N, the winds can radically change its configuration. Vessels anchoring in Village Cove or other areas around the Pribilof Islands should maintain a careful ice watch so as not to become entrapped. Vessels should not attempt to ride out a gale at anchor near the islands, unless to leeward and well sheltered. The surf is apt to make quickly and is dangerous on the weather side of the island.
Prominent in the approach to the anchorage off Village Cove are the three large steel tanks on a bluff just Wof the village. Also on the bluff, just to the N, are eight smaller white tanks. Vessels should steer 082° for the center of the three large steel tanks and anchor in about 8 fathoms with Reef Point and the center of Sea Lion Rock in range. Zapadni Point, Tolstoi Point, and Reef Point, 2.5 miles WNW, 0.6 mile NW, and 1 mile SW of Village Cove, respectively, are the best radar targets in the area at a range of 5 to 7 miles. In 1993, an obstruction with an unknown depth
was reported 0.7 mile SE of Zapadni Point in about 57°08'12N., 170°19'54W. Village Cove is protected by breakwaters marked by lights. The harbor is a refuge for the fishing fleet of the Bering Sea. In 2006, 18 feet was available in the entrance channel. The harbor has three main docks with depths of 9.5 to 23 feet alongside and deck heights of 11 feet. The small boat float has a depth alongside of 15 feet. Keep close to shore; the harbor shoals rapidly in the NE section. Caution should be used when approaching the harbor as heavy swells may still break near the entrance.
The harbormaster can be reached on VHF-FM channel 16, except on weekends and after normal business hours. At these times communications are routed through the Public Safety Office on VHF-FM channel 16.
St. Paul, about midway along a peninsula extending from the S side of St. Paul Island, has small wooden bright-colored homes with dark-colored roofs, a church, hotel, a small hospital, several large buildings, and a machine shop with limited facilities. The hospital patients requiring surgery are transferred to Anchorage by jet medevac. A commercial airline provides weekly mail and passenger service to and from Anchorage via Cold Bay or Dutch Harbor when weather permits. A weather station and a loran station are on St. Paul Island. The weather station monitors CB channel 9, and the loran station monitors VHF-FM channel 16 (156.80 MHz).
Landing is forbidden at the fur seal rookeries on St. Paul Island during the breeding season, June 1 to October 15.
Trident Seafood Processing Facility at St Paul Harbor . . .
Weather,St.Paul Vicinity: The climate is typically maritime, resulting in considerable cloudiness, heavy fog, high humidity, and rather well restricted daily temperature ranges. Humidities remain uniformly high from May to late September, and during the summer period there is almost continuous low cloudiness and occasional heavy fog. June, July, and August are the foggiest months. On average, 205 days in a year have fog reported. The differences
between average maximum and minimum temperatures for the entire year are only slightly above 8°F (4°C). Temperatures remain on the cool side even during the summer, and the highest temperature on record is 66°F (18.9°C) in August 1987. Extreme highs in summertime usually range around the middle fifties (12° to 14°C). Although record low readings fall well
below the zero mark (<-18°C) and each month from December through April have seen below zero (<-18°F) readings, such extremely cold days are rather rare. On the average only 5 days each winter season have temperatures falling below the zero mark (<-18°C). The lowest temperature on record is -19°F (-28.3°C) in March 1971.
Despite an environment of high humidities, and days with precipitation numbering 320 for a given year, precipitation on St. Paul Island is surprisingly light. The annual average is slightly below 24 inches (610 mm), which is just below the average for Alaska as a whole. The greatest 24-hour precipitation on record fell slightly short of 2 inches (51 mm, October 1949). The wettest year on record, 1964, had 36.60 inches (929.6 mm) of precipitation and the driest year, 1977, saw only 9.82 inches (249.4 mm) for the year. April is generally the driest month, with a gradual increase of precipitation until a mean monthly total of over 3 inches (76 mm) is reached during August and slightly below for September and October. This is followed by a gradual decrease during the succeeding months until the return of April. On average, 165 days per year record snowfall and the Weather Service Office (WSO) averages about 56 inches (1422 mm) in a year. March is the snowiest month averaging ten inches (254 mm) and 25 days with snow during the month. Only July, and August have been snow free. Thunderstorms are extremely rare on St. Paul Island. The only isolated occurrence ever reported was in June 1939.
Frequent windy periods are characteristic of the island area throughout the year. Frequent storms occur from October to April, and these often are accompanied by gale force winds to produce general blizzard conditions. The mean wind speed for the WSO is 14 knots but the winter months average nearly 17 knots. Gales have occurred during every month except June and July. Under the influence of prolonged N and NE winds between January and April, the ice pack occasionally moves S to surround the island. During recent years, the S limit of this movement has been between St. Paul and St. George Islands, some 40 miles (74 km) to the SE of St. Paul.
Tides and currents: The diurnal range of the tide at Village Cove is 3.2 feet. Around the island the current setsNWon the flood and S on the ebb, following the trend of the shore. The greatest velocity occurs at Northeast Point and between Reef Point and Otter Island. Average velocity at
strength of current is 1 to 2 knots, but with continued strong winds from one direction it may increase to 3 knots. There are heavy rips around Northeast and Southwest Points, also between Reef Point and Otter Island, where they are worse on the ebb. The tides and tidal currents are greatly influenced by the winds
Aerial view of St. Paul Harbor