Saturday, July 24, 2010


It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I honestly had quite a bit of fun. Today’s seal harvest was at Zaponi Reef. Yesterday I went and got my permit (because anyone who isn’t part of the Tribe needs a permit) so I could go and be Terry’s “Pathology Tech”. Chelsea gave me that name. I really like it. It makes me feel special. Basically what I was doing was following Terry around with about 10 tubes between my thumb and forefinger, lids for the tubes in my other hand, pockets full of empty tubes, and a bucket under my arm. We took two tubes of blood from each seal. I had to have un-lidded tubes in my hand for Terry to quickly grab, lid the tubes as he handed them to me, put the bigger of the two tubes in the bucket under my arm, and continuously shake the other two. All while holding all the stuff that I had, keeping up with Terry, and keeping an eye on the live seal. It got pretty intense there for a while.

The seals were brought up off the beach and onto the tundra. They were kept in a big herd by people standing around the outer edges. As everyone was ready for seals, a few (7-9) were brought forward from the herd. Everyone only wanted the small males, and I think it’s illegal to kill females, so any females that may have gotten in there had to be pointed out. The seals were stunned by a blow to the head by someone with a club, and then dragged over and stabbed in the heart. Terry and I were trying to be right there as soon as they were stabbed in order to collect the blood before they bled out of clotted too badly to get any good samples. After that, the seals were cut up and skinned and put into bags and what not.

I was trying to stay relatively clean, in order to keep the blood tubes clean and sterile, but by the end it wasn’t an option to be clean. My rain gear and gloves were all covered in blood. I also got to run some guts. That just meant waiting until a seal was entirely cut up, asking if they were done with their gut pile and heads, and then hauling it all over to Bobette and Chelsea who were taking tissue samples and nasal swabs. I only wanted to do that so I could write “gut-runner” on my resume. So now I have the titles of Gut-runner, Pathology Tech, Blood-shaker, and Tissue-taker.

Yesterday was great. Except that the plane was canceled. Hopefully I will make it out today. Hopefully the plane the plane will make it in today. But the weather outside doesn’t look too promising….. Let’s just hope that the fog lifts by the time the plane gets here.

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