The Kad'yak is the oldest known shipwreck site in Alaska and the only Russian Era Alaska shipwreck ever discovered. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Kad'yak's discovery creates physical links between the history of Alaska, the ice trade, and the gold rush.
In April 1860, the Kad'yak set sail from Kodiak, Alaska, carrying ice to San Francisco. Shortly after leaving port, it hit a rock and filled with water, but being full of ice, drifted for four days before it sank in the shallow waters of Icon Bay on Spruce Island, Alaska.
Prior to its departure, Captain Arkhimandritov had promised to hold a service for Father Herman (later St. Herman) who had lived, died, and was buried on Spruce Island, but failed to do so. When the Kad'yak finally came to rest, it sank in front of Father Herman's chapel, with the mast forming a cross above the water.
Using information from Arkhimandritov's journal, Dr. Stevens led a team of divers who discovered its location during a two-day search, in July 2003. In July of 2004, the wreck site was surveyed by a team of archaeologists from East Carolina University and the State of Alaska.
Artifacts found to date include cannons, anchors, bronze drift pins, deck planking, chain, machinery including the anchor windlass, parts of bilge pumps and rudder hinges, and various bronze artifacts.
The visitor center is still operating with summer hours of 8am to 7:30pm. Due to the lecture, admission will be free after 7pm.