Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Seal hunting at the floe edge

This week is Professional Improvement Week. We have the week without kids and we get to do some fun individual and cultural activities. I decided to go seal hunting with a guy from my hockey team.

This guy is using a harpoon to check the ice. As they walk near the edge, they poke the stick into the ice to make sure it is thick enough. They also scratch the harpoon on the ice to attract the curious seal.

A hunter waiting on the floe edge. All of the floe edge (where ice meets water) is thin ice that constantly breaks off and comes back. When the ice shifts in, it breaks up and rolls into the hills of ice that you see at the edge.

Here is Alvin in his kayak. After you shoot the seal, you have to go out in a boat or a kayak to find it before it sinks. The entire floe edge is full of mist because the "warmer" water comes into contact with the cold air. The blue hazy mist can be seen for kilometres.

Alvin is getting ready to get back onto the ice. If you look closely, you can see the seal tied to the side of his kayak.

Johnny is pulling the seal across the ice. The texture of the seal is a lot like jello. I was told that this one was "a good eating seal".

Because it was a good eating seal, Alvin cut it up right away.

I learned today that a lot of the blubber gets left on the sea ice. Traditionally, they would use the blubber for oil lamps. But since we now have electricity, they leave the blubber on the ice. The polar bears come and eat the blubber and in return they get fatter bears to hunt. Of course, we all have a chance to eat some of the meat immediately. I had some more liver dipped in fresh, warm blood.

Here is one of the many cracks that forms because of the shifting ice at the edge. While we were there, the ice was cracking and shifting.

A picture of me at the floe edge. The water was so close. One more step towards the water and I would have been in.