Posted by: Team - Bowhead whale | January 19, 2012

Sighting of the first bowhead whale

On the 17th of January Abel, one of the local hunters, saw a bowhead whale 5 nm off Qaqqaliaq! This is very early indeed compared with the sightings we have from the past 7 years and his own recollection.

By the time we got to Qaqqaliaq the whale had disappeared and we did not unfortunately get any ID-pictures of it. ID-pictures, also taken from boats,  have proven to be a highly useful tool for identifying bowhead whales. They have unique scars and pigment patterns on their skin which from a distance appear just plain black Our recordings turned out to be very noisy because there were a lot of hunters out after narwhals and seals.

The stormy weather that we have had for the past many weeks has broken the ice around Qeqertarsuaq. These are excellent conditions for bowhead whales, beluga whales and narwhals but very difficult for the hunters and for us in boats.

A hunter in his boat fighting pass the lighthouse of Qaqqaliaq through the ice. Photo: M. Christoffersen