Walrus Versus Whaleboat
By Atom Bergstrom
Walrus livers and kidneys were Eskimo delicacies, but walrus hunting was dangerous business.
Walruses are peaceful and sociable unless you mess with them.
A polar bear would kill a walrus on land, but a walrus would kill a polar bear in the water.
A polar bear can swim for days, dog-paddling at up to six miles per hour.
A walrus can hold its breath underwater for ten minutes.
The longest observed polar bear dive was 3 minutes and 10 seconds while swimming a distance of about 150 feet.
Robert J. Flaherty (My Eskimo Friends, 1924) wrote …
“‘The walrus is bad when he is angry,’ Wetalltok continued. ‘That same summer one Eskimo went out from shore with his kayak to hunt ducks. Though early in the morning there had been a walrus kill, there were no signs of walrus then. He did not come back. All that the people could find were pieces of kayak. The water was red, red, red.
“‘And you have heard of that kablunak [a member of the Northwest Mounted Police at Cape Fullerton]. Their whaleboat was strong and big, but the walrus they had wounded with their gun but did not kill swam under the boat and up over the side. With his tusks he turned it over. Two of the kablunak swam in to shore, which was near, but the other one was frightened. He swam out. The two kablunak who got out on shore saw the walrus charge the kablunak who was swimming. The walrus kept on charging him, even after he was dead. Then he went for the boat and smashed it to pieces with his tusks. And then he charged the pieces which floated on the sea.'”
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