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Bowhead-aches. – 7th July 2009

Doug Anderson at flow-edge © Liz White

Doug Anderson at flow-edge © Liz White

OK Bowheads are hard to film.  We are struggling to get close to them.  They seem to sense our presence on the flow edge and dive underneath my vain attempts to snorkel into their paths.  The only proper interaction we have had so far was a big girl that didn’t sense the canoe we were in till the last minute – when she realised how close she was she had a good shot at turning over our boat before diving away.  But is that surprising? Not really.  These whales are old.  Some are perhaps 200 years old. Born before even the first white man had even made it to this part of the Canadian Arctic.  And they have been hunted by the Inuit their whole lives. From the flow edge and from boats they have been harpooned, shot at and generally harassed by man year after year.  The only difference is now we are trying to shoot them with film rather than steel.  I feel tired but the tundra is warming and there is hope in our small band.