December 1, 2008


To the community members here in Gambell, Whaling is an honored tradition that brings celebration to the people. Today, one of the families here in Gambell was successful in hunting a Bowhead whale. We heard the news around 1:00 that they had a few strikes on the whale (they use spears that have bombs at the end. When the spear hits the whale, the bomb explodes inside). It was not until about an hour later that they had the whale close enough to the beach that they could work on it. When we arrived at the beach on the northend of the island we could see that many community members have been waiting there for a while. The kids where playing on the ice-covered ground, and the parents watching. As we approached the whale, we saw that it was SO big that they could not get it on the beach completely so they had to work on it from the boats. This was such an exhilarating experience. I have learned about it through my college anthropology class, but nothing beats the real thing. It was an unremarkable, unforgettable experience.

This was the site we saw when we were approaching the whale. The villagers were congrigating together. It was a beautiful day too!

Here are some boys, sitting and looking at the whale while the men try and figure out a way to bring it on shore:

While the boys watch the whale some little girls in their quapahoks (winter coats) playing...They are so darned cute!:
While the hunters where still discussing tactics, the boys tried to help pull the whale and Clint, in the orange coat helped:)
It was getting way too cold out for me to stand and wait until they got the whale onto shore, so I asked Clint if we could leave. He was a little disapointed, but standing out in 5 degree weather with the wind chill isn't fun. So we left. The villagers however, stayed until 1:00 in the morning working on the whale. Some stayed even later trying to get as much meat as possibe.

What an exciting day here in Gambell!

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