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Archive 2008 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !
  
 
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #1 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !












The overwhelming quiet - & peace & freedom, the only sound(s) are the wind, the cracking ice, and your 'thoughts' !!

This is the paradise of the north - that very few ever get to experience !!









These giants are crusing past us at perhaps 20 mph or faster !!



May 05, 2009 at 10:11 AM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #2 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


Here is where we get 80% of our food, from the ocean, seals (4 types) whales 2 types - Oogruk, walrus, fish to numerous to mention, along with ducks, geese, birds of all types, and so much more. We wait, and food is delivered !!




Charles Brower !!



Hey ! take my picture !!



Another day is over, in the land of the midnight sun !!




May 05, 2009 at 08:50 PM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #3 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !



One umiaq is brought into the church, for the traditional Blessing of the boats - prayers for the safety of the crews and individuals involved. This four hour service was packed !! Many people got up to speak, among them was Eugene Brower. Much was said about work !! The need for hard workers to get the job done. Fredrick Brower is seated to the left, you can see part of his seal skin vest. All whaling captains are wearing seal skin vests for this occasion.



Getting ready to go back out on the trail to work, it is very cold today, Khristopher is wearing some very warm polar bear mittens. Keeping your hands warm in sub zero temps with high winds is easy, if you have the right materials !! Fredrick Brower uses 3 pairs of mittens, one on top of the other to keep his hands warm when it is extremely cold !! Layers, lots of loose layers is the secret to keeping warm. (one of the secrets). There are many others, such as the type(s) of food eaten.



Notice the braided yarn harness, just take your mittens off, cross them behind your back, and the harness will keep them ready for when you need to put them back on !!

Today, was an overcast day, much to the relief of our eyes, That sunlight bouncing and reflecting off all the ice, is blinding indeed, it is a much welcome relief to have grey skies for a while.



But the one draw back with overcast skies, is the contrast is so low, it is difficult to see changes in the surface of the ice, until it is too late, so , we proceed slowly, cautiously.

A meeting of the captains - Eugene Brower is speaking to Thomas Brower of which part of the trail to widen.




There is one thing that is very easy to accomplish out here. Notice the can of POP ! Ice cold, never a problem getting your pop cold out here. Just do not forget it because they will freeze in no time at all !!

Everyone works- as a team effort - Even if you are the President of the A.E.W.C. everyone is part of the TEAM - there are no levels out here, everyone is treated in the same manner. Everyone pitches in to get the job finished !!



May 05, 2009 at 08:59 PM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #4 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


work work work, mile after mile, day after day, no pay !! Just the right to eat, and no one complains !!






Notice the seal skin gloves on Eugene Brower !!













May 05, 2009 at 09:06 PM
rowan57
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p.10 #5 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


Wonderful photos, a truly amazing lifestyle you lead for sure!

Regards
Rowan



May 05, 2009 at 09:07 PM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #6 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


Tuesday, we are still n the village, west wind is still blowing. We need that west wind to increase. We need the temps to drop. Alapa Anaui 'Cold & windy.

That ice that on the other side of the lead, has to advance with much force to jam this ice together to make it stronger and thicker. The higher the pressure ridges, the safer and more solid the ice is. The work load increases, but that is not a problem, - happy days full of laughter !!



In the background is Ben Itta's Truck with his logo and name. This captains gear in the foreground is ready to be taken out to the ice when conditions improve. The caribou skins are for sitting, on the sled @ camp. There is one sled in the tent, and one sled @ the lead opening itself.



Instead of caribou skins and or other animals fur, this captain has his sled loaded with blue insulation, very warm for sitting for long periods of time, waiting, the days will soon be filled with excitement and much hunting and harvesting of food for the many familes of this and other communities.

Believe it or not, some of this food is sent to amost every one of the lower 48 states, and even to some countries around the world !!

Naqkupak !!



Checking out equipment and getting everything ready to head on out.



The outboard motor is mounted on the umiaq !







May 05, 2009 at 09:16 PM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #7 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


Wednesdays news : It is not good, We have West wind, we are still in town, west winds are predicted to last all week long, We need those winds to increase in speed and strength. It needs to get much colder, we need much thicker ice.

Problems have risen out on the ice and Eugene Brower is a bit upset from other crews using his trail, 5 crews were stopped last night and told to get off that trail, (they did not help) Eugene spent a lot of money to have his trail prepared, he has already gone through 3 - 55 gallon drums of fuel.

The captain foots the bill for the entire crew. Fuel, ammunition, food. (and other supplies if necessary).

Two miles out on the trail, Eugene encounters a young white man with his girl friend and some small children on a snow machine on his trail. "What are you doing out here? You are not allowed here, especially so far out alone, Oh ! the young man said.. we are just joyriding. Eugene glared - Polar bears are roaming about out here, and you do not even have any weapons??. GET OFF THIS ICE NOW !! This is not a tourist attraction !!

Each crew is responsible to break their own trail; not to take over someone else's trail. in Point Hope there are 20 whaling captains & crews, I am not sure of the exact number of captains and crews here in Barrow but I will acquire that information asap.


My favorite photo of breaking trail was set up and posed, these two captains are really sitting on the pick handle(s), the picks were carefully arranged so as not to show the picks or any shadows. This is straight out of the camera, no photoshop !!



The most photographed site in Barrow, the jaw bone arches of a huge bowhead whale !

What most people do not know, is that these were erected in 1964, by people from Point Hope !

Ron Oviok told me the story one day, and I was very surprised to hear what he had to say. The people in Barrow wanted to erect these bones, but did not know the proper procedure, a call was made to Point Hope and some people came up to do the job !!



1934 is when these villages drafted up their constitution for village government.



The skull of a bowhead whale, I think there are 4 of these throughout the village.



Word just came over the phone, we are possibly headed out tonight @ 8:00 P.M. to begin whaling !!




May 05, 2009 at 09:30 PM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #8 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


It is way too hot, the captain said, if this keeps up, we will not go whaling, the ice is very thin at the lead opening as in inches not feet. Cold weather is expected Wednesday, i'm told. time will tell.
















Whaling in Barrow is much different than whaling in Point Hope.

In Barrow the women stay home and do the cooking, food is brought out to the crews. In Barrow the tent is at the lead, and it is just for the hunters.

In Point Hope, women break trail also, women are on the ice at all times in the tents - cooking, the hunters sleep outside with no tents.

There are many other differences also - as we move along in the hunt I will point these differences out. Point Hope is the only village that still does everything in the traditional manner.



May 05, 2009 at 09:53 PM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #9 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


Monday evening @ 7:00 p.m. finally we are transporting the umiaq and other supplies out to the camp site, many miles out on the ocean ice pack, which is rapidly melting !!





The crew - and what they are about to do !! (EUGENE BROWERS CREW)

Transport all of this stuff, out through the trail down to the camp site !!



You have no idea, what it involves and what it costs, to keep a crew, supplied out on the ocean ice pack - living for many weeks !!

empty your kitchen.. pack it up.. your going to need almost everything !!!

and you have.. no running water' to do the dishes for 15 people 4 times a day !!!!!




We have arrived at our camp site, now lets setup the tent !!!



This entire hunt, from breaking trail, setting up camp, the hunt - & inside the umiaq. day by day. is all going to be posted, to let you see first hand, what these people have to do - to eat !! The most incredible amount of backbreaking hard work you have ever imagined !! - and more !!



May 05, 2009 at 10:11 PM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #10 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !

















Now we have one more thing to do to finish this job .. .. ..



May 05, 2009 at 10:18 PM
 

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Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #11 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


The most important part.. .. we have to delegate someone, to test it !!! (chuckle)







Camp site is working, all finished, some minor things, left to do.



We are gaining, 12 more minutes of light, each day, The famous 'midnight sun' !!




May 05, 2009 at 10:35 PM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #12 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


DEM - R - DUX

THOUSANDS of ducks pass by all day long, plenty of food to be harvested !!





The hunters are the cooks !! Here in Barrow, there are no women in the tent - cooking & cleaning, it is just the hunters !!

& a boyer !!






Training starts very young out here on the ice, I guess you could say.. .. this is the lowest level !! (chuckle) !!















May 06, 2009 at 12:37 AM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #13 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


ducks ducks ducks, all day long, every day for weeks !!!






As you can easily see, we are far from the lead, (which is closed).

Much more work to be done, clearing a trail out to the lead !! More work, lots of work to be done every day - by everyone - no one is excluded from this work !!

Cleaning and loading the shoulder gun !! This is the whaling captain . Fredrick Brower !! "BOMB PROOF" is his new nickname !! (chuckle) believe it or not. this man had a harpoon explode and go right through the palm of his hand ! Last fall, the exploding harpoon went off twice, with the safety on !! No one was hurt !!




the ice on the sled is what is left of our drinking water !!


And .. .. ..The Video !!






And.. .. another VIDEO


When there is no room in the tent (full) then it is time to sleep outside !!

It is almost 5:00 a.m. !!










May 06, 2009 at 12:53 AM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #14 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !



I was surprised to see, that they do not use home made wood stoves out here, when I asked why ? They laughed and said.. it takes too long to break down, when we have to evacuate because of advancing ice. NO fire to put out, no stove pipes to clean, no wood to gather and chop !!


Wow !! I bet the boyer sure likes that !!






3 different crews, in our area, they asked permission to use the trail we made - Eugene said Yes ! but when people (5 crews) try to take it over, some people got very upset !!





A happy hunter displays his first duck of the season !!





Charles is the cook, for tonights meal !!





(chuckle) and.. .. The Video !!




May 06, 2009 at 01:25 AM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #15 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !



Time to get back to work on the trail !!




Here is one of the markers, that is sighted to determine which way the ice is moving. These are lined up in a row across a great distance, you need binoculars to see the 'line' of markers out here.




It is much to hot out here now, messy, and dangerous, it is very easy to fall through the ice. (fingers crossed).




Jesse fell in once, a few years ago. ( in tghis exact spot) It was below zero, lucky for him he had a [pack pack nearby and changed, came home exhausted and fell asleep



this was the image, that inspired me to name my blog "A BLOG OF ICE"

you can see an umiaq, in the background, waiting for a whale to give itself over to the captain ( it never happend) !!




May 06, 2009 at 01:37 AM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #16 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


Food for the inupiaq people(s), for over 3,000 years. Who else has a documented history of that length of time ?? wow !!!

Here is a flipper or fluke being brought out to the camp site from one of the whales that was caught last fall. This piece will feed the crew, small portions daily, for the many weeks we have left. but with this heat, I am very skeptical. We need strong East winds that are very cold.

30 below or colder.. ..




The tail is all 'blubber, the fins, flukes, flippers are 100% blubber, the only meat, is on the chest, for a 25 foot whale - (teenager) about a wheel barrow full. Tavra (that's all).


Back to work, on the trail, from camp site to the lead. We do not know where, when it will break open again. We need strong cold winds ( to make the ice thicker).




The ice is nice, and an overcast day is a welcome relief from the heat,

Notice the darkness on the bottom of some of the clouds, that is open water.




The pristene magnificent world of ice, the light - changes things out here, colors, reflecting.




Open water is easy to spot.. .. you got all day / night to look around, or take a walk to go seal hunting !!

After work is finished for the day .. .. work work work.. there is always something for everyone to do.






May 06, 2009 at 03:03 AM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #17 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


Open water is easy to spot.. .. you got all day / night to look around, or take a walk to go seal hunting !!

After work is finished for the day .. .. work work work.. there is always something for everyone to do.











May 06, 2009 at 03:10 AM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #18 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


Polar bear tracks are spotted near our trail, we decided to follow them for about 1/2 mile









No sight of the bear yet, but these tracks are very fresh, the snow is melting, quickly, you can see the 'texture'



Looks like this bear found some food, a seals den ??



We never saw the bear, we headed back to camp.



May 06, 2009 at 05:34 AM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #19 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


Charging up,through the sunlight, you easily become solar powered out here, as long as your outside in that blinding sunlight all day, you feel no effects of being tired, it is very easy to stay alert and awake for 3 days.

The only way to experience this solar power thing, is to be out here, 24/ 7

A few hours rest, and your good to go again.



Tired boyer resting.



2 crews are now set up in our area.



We wait, for the lead to open so we can make a trail from the camp site to the lead !!






May 06, 2009 at 05:45 AM
Majik_Imaje
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p.10 #20 · High in the Arctic .. .. Eskimo !


Wait ! that is a large portion of the Inupiaq way of life, especially out here on the ice pack. Wait .. .. ..






Rest where you can, and when you can ! We still have to clear a trail from the tent site, to the lead opening, more work to do, every day, all day. If that wind shifts to west, we have to pack up and SCRAM. as quick as possible. Everyone is aware of the wind and which direction it is blowing. It is unbearable out here, when there is no wind. too hot. temps are above zero. everything is melting, the ice at the lead is about 5 foot thick. not near as thick as we would like it to be.





Filling in water holes, markers are placed where additional work needs to be done.







Wait, watch, look & listen.. .. .. all day !!








May 06, 2009 at 05:53 AM
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