19 August, 2000

Dr. Radtke, Josh, Anderson, Wendy, and I flew from Thule this morning to Qaanaaq by helicopter. We went over the ice sheet and across Havlsund to land at the village of around 500 people. John Babaluk stayed behind to await his gear coming from Nuuk. We have taken everything else and will try to do some sampling using the local fishermen and get set up to camp at Lake Taserssuit. The bad news was we would have to stay in different accommodations than planned. Dr. Radtke, Josh, and Anderson would be staying at an Alderhous, old folks home; Wendy and I would be staying at facilities for the area telecommunications personnel. They come into the community to do maintenance and lodge there; it is as if Hawaiian Telephone, to fix things on the north shore, would live there for that time frame. We would all dine together at the Alderhous.

At lunch we met the Hotel Qaanaaq owner, Hans Jensen, who would become an essential liaison between us and the community. He introduced us to the hunter, Mads Ole Kristiansen, who would be one of our Inuit guides. He is an expert kayaker, who competes and places in the top three in national competitions in Nuuk. He also plays guitar in several rock bands and coaches a game that is similar to soccer, but uses a hand ball. He is an Inuit Renaissance man, but is most proud of being a hunter. A great hunter is one who can hunt all the animals: narwhal, polar bear, walrus, beluga, and seal. To be a great hunter is to have achieved this with success and respect. The hunting ethic and lifestyle is a revered way of life for people in the area.

Mads Ole hunts the narwhal using a kayak, which he himself built. He said his first kayak took half a year to build and now he can do it in 3 to 4 days. The hu7nting of narwhal by motor boat has been forbidden by the Kommuna that sets the rules in the community. They did this because the motor noise frighten off the narwhal. Usually two to three men in kayaks are needed to hunt. narwhal meat is seen drying in many of the racks outside of the houses here. It feeds both people and their dogs. I am anxious to see his kyak and tomorrow he will take Anderson, Wendy, and I out in his motor boat with kyak attached to an area to hunt. The day after that we leave for Lake Taserssuit by motor boat to fish and buy fish from the local fishermen for the study.

Weighing in our gear before getting on the helicopter. (Had to include our own weight also.)

Skis and pontoons on the helicopter.

Over the ice field.

Glacial melt stream from the ice cap.

Ice bergs in Havelsund. Around 80% of the ice is below water.

Across Havelsund.

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