Residents of Katmai Village, on the south coast of the Alaska Peninsula, felt earthquakes beginning around May 31, 1912. This is almost a week before the eruption onset. In 1912, there were no seismometers within hundreds of miles of Novarupta to record these earthquakes and no organization like the Alaska Volcano Observatory to warn residents about a possible eruption. In spite of this, these earthquakes were large enough to catch the attention of local people and many left, heading down the coast in skin boats (bidarkas). It was fortunate that a large number of residents were typically away from the Katmai area during this time of year, heading southward for fishing camps or commercial fishing work at Cold (Puale) Bay just east of Becharof Lake about 40 miles southwest of Mount Katmai and 30 miles southwest of Katmai Village.