Whalers in Alaska’s northernmost town of Utqiaġvik have finally landed their first bowhead of the season, after what some veterans said was an unprecedented absence of the marine mammals amid record-setting air and water temperatures.
Social media postings from the North Slope hub community show members of the successful crew standing in the dark in front of the 25-foot bowhead.
This year, the dozens of crews from Utqiaġvik went without a bowhead for nearly two months after the season opened Sept. 21. Last fall, they’d landed 19 bowheads by Oct. 23.
Utqiaġvik’s whalers weren’t even spotting bowheads early in the season, and scientists flying aerial surveys found bowheads much farther offshore than their normal range — although other North Slope villages farther east did manage to land whales.
Utqiaġvik and the ocean that surrounds it have experienced record warmth this past summer and fall. Experts, including whalers and scientific researchers, theorize that the whales may have moved offshore in search of food or cooler water.
- Hundreds turned out for the annual Christmas gathering at the Governor's Mansion.
- But experts say the details of what the Dunleavy administration proposes will be important.
- The Alaska State Troopers plan — which includes transferring dispatchers in Ketchikan, Wasilla and Soldotna — was the subject of much concern at a recent assembly meeting in Ketchikan.
- According to a report by the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center, the hiker was alone Saturday when he was caught in an avalanche near the Blueberry Loop trail and fully buried before he was able to kick his legs free.