Point Lay (cont’d)

Tuesday, July 2 – no report of whales. Warm day, about 60F, little wind, and mosquitos very bad. A neighbor’s dog got loose and tangled up in the seal net at the research house and ended up in the ditch across the street. Down the street, Robert, Rhoda, and Christina Lisbourne/Rexford, and Cyrus butchered an ugruk that Cyrus had shot that morning (shot from the boat about 25 feet away and then harpooned before it could sink). Butchering with ulus took about 3 hours. They showed us the process and what is eaten (heart, kidneys, blubber, meat, intestines, and ribs) and what is not (liver, lungs, stomach, head, flippers). Later in the day we all took the zodiaks across the lagoon to the old fishing village at Point Lay, where folks lived until about the 1950s. We beached the boats and nearby saw the bone heap from prior years of beluga hunting. This is there the belugas were brought ashore for butchering and where the kids piled bones to clear ground for the next hunt. We walked along the beach and up a small hill to look at several abandoned sod huts and ice cellars. We continued across a low area to another abandoned settlement and saw old whale boats (one was converted to a drying rack), houses, trailers, and debris. Then walked the beach finding whale, caribou, seal, polar bear bones and sea ice chunks along the way. On the way back we saw the community cemetery associated with the abandoned village. Wood crosses with lead letters/numbers from the 1930s and 1940s still largely intact. Returned to the houses about 9pm and caught up on some work at Marjorie’s until midnight. Researching the Lost Fleet – 32 whaling vessels from New England, Hawaii, and California that were crushed by Arctic ice in 1871.

beluga bone pile

Beluga bone pile.

sod hut

Abandoned sod hut.                               

old whaleboat

Whaleboat drying rack.

walking between the sod huts and the abandoned village

Walking between the sod huts and the abandoned village.


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