National Geographic : 1990 Aug
Eskimos pull together for a whale harvest I t takes teamwork to haul in 50 tons of bowhead whale-friends, neigh S.bors, and relatives pulling side by side until the great dark hulk slides onto the ice. So when the news crackles over the radio that Simeon Patkotak's crew has taken a whale on the Chuk chi Sea, 150 Eskimos head out of arrow, Alaska, on snow nmbiles towing sleds and boats. For more than three hours they drive toward the floe edge, guided by the dark band that open water reflects on the cludy sky, Arriving around 9 pm., they find the whale, ar.ked with two huoys, float ig~just below the surface. Men. t ake to their boats and clear a path so the team can move the whale to solid ice (left). A poly propylene line attached to a car go strap brings the tail up first (top right). The flukes have been cut off to make towing easier ai will be shared at a later ceremony. "We need pullers," the whal ing captain calls. "Come on, haul." As they lean back (top far right), others chime in, "Carry on back ... keep pull ing . . haul away." Suddenly a sound like a shot gun blast rings out, then the snapped line springs past. People sprawl on the snow (r ight), several holding up their badly burned hands.