Historical Events

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Stefansson describes a ten day slog in June where they hunted birds and ate bird eggs, but were attacked by vicious mosquitos.

June 20, 1911

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My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 21

Facultative Carnivore
Eskimo
Carnivore Diet

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

It took us ten days of the hardest toil to cover the twenty miles that separated us from Langton Bay. We ventured on the ice of no more lakes, and in fact most of the lakes were already open. We had been living on seal meat up to this time, but now we lived on geese and swans . The neck of Cape Parry is one of the great swan breeding grounds. The birds themselves are not difficult to shoot with a rifle, and the nests are among the most conspicuous objects in the animal life of the Arctic. A swan's nest is the size of a bushel basket and is usually built on the barren shore of a lake. The dun color of the nest itself and the spotless white bird on top of it can be seen with the naked eye much farther than either the caribou or the grizzly bear. There are often six eggs in a nest, and as they are more than twice the size of the egg of a goose, half a dozen of them would make a square meal for a fairly hungry man. There were also some caribou in this district, and one day while Natkusiak was cooking lunch I secured three of them and two days later another two besides. 


By June 20th, while we were still making the overland crossing, the mosquitoes had become so numerous as to make sleep almost impossible, for we had no mosquito nets with us. This made us struggle all the harder, for our base camp at Langton Bay was now less than twenty miles away, and we knew that we would find there not only our Eskimo companions and a comfortable camp, but best of all and most important, mosquito nets under which we could get a com fortable night's rest.