stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-022

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- 22 -

party felt about making a boat to get seals. They just did not feel like
bothering.

One explanation of how careless they were about sealing
is their greater interest in polar bears. One bear is, of course, as much as
several seals and when one comes around he is much easier to kill and handle
than a seal. They were always seeing tracks and during the twilight period
they were thinking that when the daylight came back they would see the bears
themselves instead of merely the tracks. Even in the twilight they did see
bears as, for instance, on January 10th "Crawford and Maurer went out on the
ice and along the lead saw two bear tracks, fresh, going south. They followed
them for some distance but had to give it up for darkness. Galle and I hauled
wood. I was in the dog house when Galle was saw a bear half a mile east of camp
coming our way. The wind was west and when about a quarter of a mile from
camp the bear smelt it and was gone like a flash to seaward. We had our guns
by this time and were trying to sneak up on him. When he ran we followed him
for a short distance but gave it up as it was nearly dark. A few minutes
later the others came home following the tracks of the same bear which had in
turn followed our yesterday's tracks home from the lead. Had the wind been
from any other direction to-day than west the bear would have been ours."

January 18th was typically "a day of hard luck. After
breakfast Crawford and Maurer went east to the lead and forgot the retriever.
Galle and I followed in a few minutes and when we were about half a mile from
them Crawford shot a seal which started to drift east. When we got to where
they were we could not get to within a hundred yards of the seal (because of
water) so had to do nothing but wait hope that the current would change. An
hour or so later Maurer shot a seal about seventy-five feet from the edge of
the firm ice. I took the retriever and got him to the edge of the slush about
thirty feet from us. The seal then became detached from the retriever and went
under the slush. Although we worked till dark we did not see him again. By

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