Seal Hunting One Brilliant Day in Sermilik Fjord, East Greenland
Qertaulangiuaq, high up Sermilik Fjord, is a favorite place for Diilerilaaq hunters to hunt seals.
One day last mid-April, three of us – two hunters and myself, a visiting photographer – boated up the fjord to Qertaulangiuaq. There, in heavy fog, we hunted from icebergs and fast ice. The air was so thick with ice, it was hard to tell the sea from the sky.
Gert, our “seal whisperer” clucked and mewed, and scraped his gaff against the ice edge. In response, seals would pop their heads above water and swim towards the hunters.
The seals eventually grew wise to Gert’s game and retreated to the safety of the sea. The hunters then turned the sights inland. Max donned camouflage and carefully picked his way across the fast ice towards seals basking near the shore.
Success! Three fat, ringed seals.
By mid-afternoon, the fog started to lift and the sun broke out. Ice-capped mountains split cloud-mottled seas and skies along a shimmering horizon. With a clear line of sight, hunting became spectacular. Seal bodies bobbed about the water in bloody pools, near the glowing ice edge. As we boated into the bay to collect them a rib of moss-green, bedrock gneiss rose under our bow.
Do hunters, I wonder, see sublimity as well as its seals?