Fair winds took us from Greenland around the last remaining pack ice in Baffin Bay and into Canadian waters. We had not yet decided on a route since a large cloud cover over the Canadian arctic cluttered up the satellite images. To bide our time and get information on where to see walrus and narwhal we decided to visit Grise Fjord witch is the furthest northern settlement in Canada. We sailed into Jones sound that had been covered with ice just two weeks earlier.
From far we could see the small village with not more than 50 houses and a couple of large fuel tanks. We dropped our anchors and where welcomed by two curious kids in a kayak, and was severely defeated when we raced them to the beach in our dinghy. We walked around to find someone to talk to but everything was closed and there were little signs of life. We decided to wait out the arctic siesta and got back to the boat for lunch.
While eating we heard a shot and rushed out in the cockpit. Through the binoculars we saw two boats and an orange buoy floating in the water. The buoy was moving back and forth and we realized that it was attached to a harpooned whale. On the bow of the boat there was a man with a rifle firing repeatedly. It was heartbreaking to watch the struggle and after two more shots the buoy stopped moving. When the hunters towed the dead narwhal into the beach we got into the dinghy to find out more. While rowing towards the shore where people had gathered to see the whale being brought in we saw a strange shape moving in the red water around the whale. It was a 3 meter shark that had been attracted by the blood. We learnt that it was the rare Greenland shark and the find created a lot of excitement both on the shore and in the dinghy. The shark left and we were welcomed by the hunters on the beach. We asked where we could find living narwhal ¬¬and they told us that pod of more than 100 narwhals had been swimming around our boat while we were eating. We also learnt about their quotas for hunting whale and that Grise fjord is supplied buy a boat once a year and that the whales are the primary source of food for the village and what they hunt in the summers will last them all year.
Every one onboard Belzebub have a very strong opinion against whaling and even if it was sad to see the dead whale it seems like a natural part of life up here and a necessity regarding the isolation of the village. With confused feelings we helped drag the whale on the beach before we got back to the boat and lifted our anchor in search for living animals.