Seal Hunting One Brilliant Day in Sermilik Fjord, East Greenland

By Verified Expert

Qertaulangiuaq, high up Sermilik Fjord, is a favorite place for Diilerilaaq hunters to hunt seals. 

Rocks underneath the water

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. 

Men on a boat in the icefjord
Man holding a riffle getting ready to shoot seal
Small chunks of ice in the water
Man getting of a boat

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.

Man holding a riffle

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.  

Seal hunter putting on a suit
Seal hunter getting his riffle ready
Seal hunter getting on land
Seal hunter walking on the sea ice with his riffle

Success! Three fat, ringed seals.

Two hunters successfully carry home three fat seals
Man carrying two dead seals
Two hunters standing over their prey

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.

Proud hunter with his prey
Three dead seals on a boat
Two men on a boat with a lot of dead seals
Sea ice

Do hunters, I wonder, see sublimity as well as its seals?

Man and dead seals on a boat sailing in the fjord in Greenland

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