Monday, September 25, 2006

Whaling what?

Well, I have posted a few pictures and brief descriptions of the recently caught and killed whales.
But, after talking to a friend I realized that you may still have questions about this strange new hunting sensation.

Each year the villages on the slope are assessed based on their population. The number of people within determines the number of strikes they get during whaling season.

A strike is a hit. Regardless of if the strike is successful it still counts against the town. Barrow is allowed about 18 strikes this year. 18 chances to bring home the bacon.

The whaling captains take their jobs very seriously. They work all year on their crew and gear. They hunt for seal in order to build their skin boats.
(Skin boats made out of a light wooden frame that is covered in seal skin. These boats are very light-weight and can easily be carried over sheets of ice.)

When the season begins they head out into the ocean searching for the prize whale. The whale I have pictured below was caught 16 miles out. They use large harpoons with a small explosive tip.
They shot the harpoon into the spine of the whale, it detonates on contact and blows out the nervous system.

Here’s where speed is of the essence. As soon as the monster dies it begins to sink. The whalers much quickly sink their hooks into its blubber to keep it afloat. Several other hunting boats come to help, all hooking in and pulling the whale that long distance to shore.
The tail it cut in the water to create less drag.

This whale was a 44 footer. It was huge.

Now we have the whale on shore. The cutting begins.
They carve the blubber off to be eaten.
Raw, boiled, frozen, or pickled.

The red meat is used for an assortment of different dishes.

And the bones can be used in different structures or to lure the polar bears away from

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