Posted by: The ocean update | April 17, 2015

Whaling season kicks off, two landed in Point Hope (Alaska, USA)

A crew in Kivalina, led by captain Replogle Swan, Sr., bow their heads while the blessing is said for a safe hunt. Below, a whaling crew leaves the community of Kivalina for the hunt on Monday. The crew, formerly led by Joseph Swan Sr. and co-captain Ronald ‘Jerry' Norton, was taken over by Swan's son, Replogle Swan Sr. - Janet Mitchell

A crew in Kivalina, led by captain Replogle Swan, Sr., bow their heads while the blessing is said for a safe hunt. Below, a whaling crew leaves the community of Kivalina for the hunt on Monday. The crew, formerly led by Joseph Swan Sr. and co-captain Ronald ‘Jerry’ Norton, was taken over by Swan’s son, Replogle Swan Sr. – Janet Mitchell

April 17th, 2015. The village of Point Hope had a glorious weekend on the water with the first two bowheads of the spring whaling season landed there on Saturday and Sunday.

The first was just over 26 feet long and caught by Lane Clark Sr.’s crew while the second, around 30 feet, was landed by the Rex Rock crew.

The weather was good and the water calm for the crews over the weekend, Rock said Monday evening.

Captains and their crews were busy Monday butchering up the whales and passing out portions to local residents.

“It’s always good when you don’t lose any whales and you start off the season right,” he said, adding that Point Hope has 10 strikes allotted for the season.

But Monday evening, both whales were stripped of meat and fat and parts were put away for future feasts and celebrations while the rest was doled out among the village.

Some parts of the bowhead have been secured under the ice and snow where it will sit for around two weeks before it is wrapped in blubber and stored for the fall or the following spring, depending on how many whales the community gets, Rock explained.

Overall, it was a celebratory weekend in the community.

“We always give thanks to God for providing us with this gift,” Rock said.

In coastal communities across the Arctic crews were getting ready to go out on the water, including the Northwest Arctic village of Kivalina where there are nine whaling captains.

Crews said a prayer, blessing the crew and boat, before the group headed out to the ice edge on snowmachines. Community members came out to watch the groups leave on Monday.

Landing two whales on the first two days of the season could be the start of a successful and bountiful spring harvest, said Arnold Brower at the Arctic Eskimo Whaling Commission.

“It’s definitely a very good sign,” he said on Monday.

Ed Sibylline : more info

A Primer for Marine Scientists Planning Shipboard Work in Alaskan Arctic and Sub-Arctic Waters (link)

Bowhead_Whale_Subsistence_Sensitivity

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