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Living on the edge

Go to the part No. 1: “Living on the edge”

Don’t know what should be the human psyche, after what happened to us in the sea while hunting walruses, quietly continue to do their routine in Bank business.

Cutting walruses, distribution of meat to all who came ashore, preparation of boats and equipment to the next exit to the sea and a dozen other things passed my mind. My buddy even participated in the butchering of a walrus and even tried her hand at skinning with sea monsters, I was as hard as losing a very close person, and my participation in the shore work was limited to observation of what is happening.


And today, as centuries ago, the Chukchi sea go in for the “fountain” on a conventional boat and get the animal with a harpoon.

Two days after the first successful exit in the sea we spent on the beach. Volodya, apparently, seeing I had had an aversion to the sea, was careful and I didn’t know about the continuation of hunting. All were just waiting for the weather and approach whales.

Easy to say — whaling! Have you ever seen them, these giants of the Northern seas, their bodies, shiny, full of strength? Saw the whales dive, leaving the water without a splash, as out of water meters for five-six in height, knocking himself with the water of parasites, as revealed butterfly in their tail, is able to kill you and your boat just as you SWAT that pesky mosquito on your arm?

Maybe you’ve heard they breathe or “blow the ears”, surfacing from the depths? If you were, you probably noticed that they are indifferent to everything that is not included in the orbit of their interests, in particular, to us humans, so tiny compared to them. Only imagine that it is possible to closely approach the giant, the length of which reaches fifteen meters, invincible scary…

On the third day, when I more or less came to himself he said, “For tomorrow the forecast is good, and the sea saw several fountains. In General, tomorrow morning we go for a whale!” To me, it sounded either like a death sentence, or as a promise of new adventures.

At six in the morning we gathered on the beach near the boats. Around were familiar faces, have changed the layout of the crews. In its mood, and the conversations of people I realized that we have something extraordinary.


The boats have not moved away from the village and ten kilometers, as our harpooner Michael, furiously waving his hand, shouted: “the Fountains right in front of us!” Our boats, which ran before the line, turned around and lined up like a pack of hound dogs, rushed in pursuit of whales. When our speed under 50 miles an hour with the whales never had a chance to break away from persecution.

But even with this advantage, we spent five hours to the language of hunters, “to put a harpoon”. First, we determined which of three whales will be taken, then approached him, made the first roll, then came the shots of harpoons with other boats, and so on to infinity. In the excitement of the chase, the near misses and thwarted the harpoons, shouting and swearing in rapid departures from whale attacks my fear of the sea, the beast and the cold disappeared.

It was something! Attack repulsed boats on the whale resembled the attacks of the huskies at running bear. Here’s one boat, as if the dog broke from the pack and tried to stop the beast, instead of using a harpoon tooth, and then rapidly rolled to the side, almost turned “heel” and walked away from podernovo under her chin. But the other made a swift pounce, he threw the harpoon, and also rolled to the side, fleeing from the angry giant.

On the third boat, the smallest and nimble, was the eldest son of Volodya and his crazy friend. These two really played with death in the giveaway. At full speed they flew to the whale, at speeds almost dropped him on his back and focus threw the harpoon. And then the stern of the boat flew a couple of meters into the air. Ran it the deadwood of the motor to the body of a giant or a whale struck it — who knows!

When the water opal, we saw two happy artists. These eagles were happy that we were able to put a harpoon. But they were upset when the bright orange float buoy, swept over the surface of the water three ten meters after the whale, suddenly began to sway on the wave. Cliff!

So, in the countless attacks on the whale, in catching floats and harpoons, in the cries of frustration from near misses and joyful shouts from successful shots flew five hours. Finally God took pity on us, and the giant is tired. After the first harpoon is securely struck the giant and the first buoy marked the progress of a wounded animal, it took us another half hour on six shots and seven steel buoys to slow the whale. But even that didn’t stop him — so great was his power and so little human effort, thousands of years playing with Leviathan in a deadly game.

Of course, someone with emotion would start to talk about the barbarism of the Chukchi, someone will complain of their lack of modern tools of production animals (at least the simplest of firearms!), but green, as usual, will require an absolute prohibition on the destruction of “the poor whales and walrus”. But, tired to argue and defend “your” truth is the best and correct, all will eat well-cooked meat with the blood from restaurant chefs and forget about the Chukchi, pursuing a wounded whale, and that it is their life, their sea, their whales, and we are here only guests.

Forget and do not notice how in desperation from the advancing darkness, the proximity of the open sea and the border where so vehemently sought out Keith, he will take a risk and try sacalis rope connecting the harpoons and buoys-floats over the rail of the boat, gently to slow down the whale, practicing motor him in the opposite direction.

And no one knows how two giant times just not to rock the boat, trying to escape from persecution annoying, with a heavy heart Vladimir will have to decide what is better: to crop the buoys or make use of community “Tiger” to use firearms to end the suffering of marine mammals. After all, no American datingan or native Chukchi harpoons can’t do the main thing — to stop the beast. Nobody knows how he will get out of the boat “Tiger” and only the last shot will be forty inches below the breathing orifice of the beast, and it will finish the hunt.

Don’t even know whether to talk to fans and guardians of the animal world that the sea will be bumped up to six points, the storm will interfere with chalice whales to our boat, we lose a lot of time trying to expand it against the waves and that whale get water into your lungs, starts to drown. Do I need to tell you that only by putting all three boats in the craving, we will gather sufficient speed (about two miles an hour, incidentally) and become confident to move to the coast, fighting with tons of dead weight, with the wind in the right cheekbone, and wave, seeking to break the convoy of boats and what we catch.

Needless to describe how all the same will tear nylon, not torn on the passport of the rope, and in the darkness we will be collecting marching order; how in the end the inevitable happens — in the tanks of the two boats will remain no more than ten litres of petrol, and we will send our crazy boys on their small boat in Nunyamo for fuel, as they will be in almost total darkness, looking for us in a stormy sea, found and thrown stolarova a barrel of fuel on-Board with us.

And absolutely not sure whether it is necessary to know the polished gentlemen of different funds, like, coming to shore in the dark, he will make mistakes, and we will reach the sand bar, natively the river, and the whale”, stranded”, and boats will become the sides of the wave, and only the reaction of the Chukchi, jumped overboard into the water, will keep them and not allow them to roll over.

Yes and do they want to know the details about how painfully long we are going to pull the whale off the rocks and make it on the fairway in the light of the lamps, floodlights, lighted on the banks, as the next morning we’ll carve the sea giant and absolutely free to distribute its meat to all comers — who will carry. The remains will be removed to the glacier, and from there, every resident of the village will be able to take the meat and feed their families…


A lot of interesting things from the harsh life of the Chukchi can still tell you, but will get my story to target? What do we see? Saving whales, we are completely indifferent to the representatives of the people, the size of which does not exceed twenty thousand people.

Providing “aboriginal quota”, well-dressed gentlemen from different organizations who are concerned about the preservation of animals, forbid them the use of firearms. Here: ôi want to live and do what were doing your ancestors, to live, hunt! With his traditional weapons. Ah, the humanists!

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