National Geographic : 2006 Jan
ollowing age-old summer rhythms, both narwhals and the Greenlanders who hunt them find their way to Inglefield Fjord, its placid blue waters temporarily freed from the vise grip of winter ice by 24-hour July sun. Masauna Kristiansen (left) emulates the harpoon skills of hunters like Mamarut Kristiansen, who has speared the season's first kill (above). But hunting narwhal is no child's play. Since the Greenlanders generally don't swim-it's too cold to learn-they face extreme danger battling the tusked whales aboard their low-riding kayaks, which are easily capsized. Hunter Jens Danielsen barely escaped when a narwhal once punctured his kayak. "I had to paddle in fast before I sank."