stefansson-wrangel-09-27-041

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Point Barrow.” But beyond reticence they knew no wiles and so they told the
truth. Hamar was to know privately that they were going to Wrangell Island but
he must not tell anyone. But that is exactly the formula which according to
miner logic is to be interpreted as meaning the opposite of what it says, and when
the story spread from Captain Hamar it seems to have been agreed that one destination
might now be eliminated. Wherever our party they were going, they were not going to
Wrangell Island. Still, the wording of the agreement was that the ship was chartered bargain was made for that voyage. I do not think
the boys guessed really suspected Captain Hamar's skepticism about Wrangell and or the
theories he held about their plans until on the actual voyage when he began to
show more and more surprise that he was not asked to change his course, his
instructions remaining that Wrangell was the destination. The party got the
distinct impression that it had been the Captain's shrewd design to demand a
higher fee for the voyage whenever Crawford came to him and owned up that the
destination was really "somewhere east of Point Barrow."

In our discussions before the party left Seattle it had been
agreed that, while most of what they spent the money for at Nome was optional, there were
two things imperative - hunting appliances gear and Eskimo families. Under the
hunting head would come arms and ammunition, fish nets, fish hooks, harpoons and
the like. But perhaps most important of all would be an Eskimo skin boat of the
type called an umiak. As made in western Alaska an umiak consists of a framework
of driftwood or possibly imported lumber, and over it stretched a covering made
either of the skins of bearded seals or walrus. Such a boat is very small at
twenty-five feet in length and they run up to thirty-five feet or more. A typical
boat was one we used on our expedition of 1908-1912. It was thirty-one feet in
length. The cover was made of the skins of seven bearded seals. It would carry
in smooth water a cargo of between two and three tons and it was so light that
two of us could carry it overland at a steady walk.

In the early days of Alaska whaling the whalemen used to use

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