Signs of Spring Everywhere Update: March 26, 1999
Today's Report Includes:
Searching for Spring in Point Hope, Alaska
No sign of robins yet in Point Hope, Alaska! (Point Hope is at 68.20N -16.64W). We received this note from Sheila Gaquin, at Tikigaq School:
Dear Journey North:
It's March 19th, and the temperature is 19 below zero. The ground has been covered with snow since early October, and the sea has been frozen almost that long, still the rapidly lengthening days tell us spring is on the way.
Now whaling captains are beginning to gather supplies, repair sleds, sharpen flensing knifes (large knives used in butchering the whale.) Soon the skins for the boats will be taken from storage and soaked in sea water to make them pliable. Then the skins will be lashed to the boat frames. Many of the boat frames are made from driftwood--the only wood available so far from the tree line. When ice, wind and current conditions are right, everything will be loaded on sleds and hauled 2 or 3 miles out from shore onto the sea ice to the edge of the open water. Then, just as it has for thousands of years, spring whaling will begin.
Late spring is a time of plenty for the Eskimo people. Game is plentiful; Ducks, beluga whales, bowhead whales
and seals are all in and around the open water. Because subsistence hunting is so important to the lifestyle of
the Inupiat Eskimos, boys are excused from school to participate
Challenge Question # 11
"After a whale hunt, what animals might try to share in the feast?"
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The next Signs of Spring Everywhere Update will be posted March 29, 1999
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