This past Sunday I took a boat ride up to Emmonak with Andy and his family so I could get a few groceries and buy my commercial fisher helper’s license. We had a snack before we left: dried smelts and seal oil. Ahh, it’s good to be back!
On our way up to Emo we saw some beluga whales, which is always a welcomed sight. Wasn’t able to get a picture, but a few miles outside of Emo, we joined in on a seal hunt. We saw a couple boats chasing it so we joined in as well.
As the minutes rolled by, more boats joined in. It was a beautiful day, so there were lots of people out on the river. When they’re trying to catch the seal, they have to wait on it to come up for air and then try to either harpoon it or throw a spear. You never can tell where it’ll surface so the more boats, the better.
Andy’s boy, Jermaine, was the one who finally caught it. Jermaine is in the blue sweater. The seal popped up right beside the boat and he was able to harpoon it. They decided to give it to an older gentleman who was out there in another boat. It’s important to note that when I say “we” joined in, and “we” tried to catch the seal”, I’m using the term “we” very loosely. It’s illegal for a non-native to participate in this. I can sit and watch and that’s about it. Still, it’s pretty special to witness them doing something that has been in their way of life for as long as anyone can remember.
After we left Emo and headed back for Nunam, we stopped and got some wood for smoking fish.
Always up for a reason to get out of the house, we all stopped at Munson Island and had a campfire picnic.
Oh, the good life…….