Whale Blubber Flavoured Bubble Gum in the Arctic
The weather was calm this morning, totally beautiful up here. We headed out on the boat for maybe an hour and cut into a bay at the mouth of a river out of the Coronation Gulf, which is in the Arctic ocean. When we cut back on this inlet we found where they hunted and killed six beluga whales a week ago, so the carcasses were still there, or at least what was left of them. We didn't see any bear sign on those so we kept going. We found another kill and something looked like it had eaten it so we parked the boat and climbed into the hills around there and started glassing for the rest of the afternoon. We didn't see anything and then the wind started picking up so we went down to check the carcass and it looked like a wolverine had been on it since earlier, but that was it. By then it was too windy for us to get out of the bay so set up a camp in the back end of the bay.
Here are camp we just finished a fine meal of muktuk which is basically whale blubber and skin. They eat the skin and blubber and then the hard part that is in between the two, I'm not sure what it is exactly, they just swallow it. They say it's like swallowing bubble gum, but it's more like swallowing chunks of raw whale. We also had raw arctic char, raw caribou and bannock with jam on it, so they have us eating like kings.
Everything here is good. It looks like it's clearing off, with less clouds and not raining but really windy right now and cold but we've got our fingers crossed for tomorrow morning. We didn't see any bears today but did see a caribou and lots of geese and ground squirrels, so we'll keep looking tomorrow.
The Next Day...
Since we got up this morning the wind has been blowing non-stop and no one can go anywhere. All the local caribou hunters and fishermen came out on their boats this morning when it looked like it was going to clear up, but now everyone is stranded in this same inlet that we've been in since yesterday and nobody can get back to their homes in Kugluktuk. We can't even start our hunt because we can't get our boat to the area that we need to hunt at, so we're all basically trapped our here waiting for it to clear and it's cold, cold, cold and it's supposed to blow 70 mph winds tonight and 30 mph tomorrow so we're going to trapped for I don't know how long.
For food we had raw Narwhal which tasted pretty similar to the raw whale blubber from yesterday. It's a weird looking whale with a 3-foot unicorn spike sticking straight out of its nose. Really bizarre. Then we had more raw caribou and raw arctic char. Matty and me mostly ate the char, but now we're out of it, so we have to start eating the raw caribou, which isn't as appealing as the fresh char sashimi was.
Today we went to visit our closest stranded neighbours here in the inlet - really, really nice people up here. They shot a caribou to eat once they realized they were stranded. They came out to go fishing and thought they would only be out for the day so they didn't bring any food. We gave them some of our food in a care package so everyone was happy happy. Except that we're all still stranded out here, so maybe happy happy isn't the best way to describe us right now. Hoping extra hard for some clear weather tomorrow... we'll see.