A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO WHALING - The Reykjavik Grapevine

A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO WHALING

A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO WHALING

Published September 3, 2004

1. Is whaling a dangerous sport?
First of all, whaling is not a sport. It is an art. Like martial arts, its essence is emancipation, the liberation of man from him/herself. Of course it involves danger. Life is dangerous, whales are big. But those who conduct it wisely are likely to outlast their first whale. Once you have mastered the art of whaling, you do not forget it, much like cycling. Having said that, even the most experienced whale-hunters may fall prey to laziness, weariness or habit. No two whales are the same.

2. Don’t you need a big boat for whaling?
No! That’s precisely what domestic whaling is all about, emancipatory whaling. There is nothing in common between those ignorant industrial beasts that do their whaling on large ships producing any other factory-like commodity, alienated from their work, alienated from themselves, alinated from life and alienated from the whale, on the one hand, and private whaling on the other. The fact that both are called by the same name, whaling, is merely an obscure contingency.
A domestic whaler may or may not use a boat. There are advanced whalers that swim to meet their prey. Needless to say, this is not recommended for beginners. But no real whaler goes with a boat any bigger than 12 feet, nor does he use engines to drive his or her boat. What is needed is:
1. Knowledge of the whale-schools’ mating spots.
2. Skills in reproducing their affectionate songs. (Notice, the first two points in the list have to do with knowledge and know-how. This is no coincidence. The most important aspects of whaling do lie within you, not ‘out there.’)
3. A small row-boat.
4. A tow, capable of holding 2-20 tons, depending on species (and the whaler’s capabilities). At least 200m — remember, you do not want to go under with the whale.
5. A bate: fish, fish intestines or a smaller whale than the one to be hunted.
6. A sword.
Some whalers have been known to take a radio or a mobile phone with them, in case of emergency, as well as other such equipment: a whistle, life vests etc. I cannot but understand this in the case of beginners and novices, but do keep in mind that any such precautions hold back your advancement and will sooner or later have to be dismissed.
3. Are there female whalers?
Potentially, yes.

4. Is there a society of whalers?
No, nor can there be. A whaler is a man (or woman) alone. Two whalers do not meet, they have encounters.

5. What exactly is the procedure of whaling (with the above-mentioned equipment)?
Row. Halt. Lure the whale to you with song and bate. Carress it. Get a line around its tail or other protrusive parts. Stab it with the sword. It will not die from the first wound, it will go berserk. Hold on to your boat. Whatever happens, hold on to your boat and the whale gets tired and hopefully it looses energy as it bleeds. When it thus calms down, approach it yet again (or, more gracefully, get it to approach you), carress it and stab it. Repeat as needed. Under all normal circumstances, but dependent on the size and age of the whale, it will die within 12 hours from its first wound. Drag the whale to shore (no, whales do not sink upon their death, they float).

6. What are the origins of Emancipatory Whaling? Are there any historical relations to Rodeo or that Spanish sport with the bulls?
Emancipatory Whaling originates in the ancient wisdom of the Icelandic Eddas. They have only recently been revived by Meistari Þórbergur Þórðarson, who did his whaling naked without a boat in the mid 20th century, reaching perfection in grace and technique and, needless to say, absolute emancipation. Until the late 90s, Icelanders conducted their whaling privately and secretly. Now, as the art spreads around the world like fire in dry grass, timidity is needed no more; we openly celebrate and participate in this highest of spiritual arts, and we invite all humanity to partake in it. There are no known historical relations to other activities that nonetheless have surface similarities. Bulls are considerably smaller animals than whales.

7. Whales are not fish, are they?
No, but they admittedly have surface similarities to fish. Whales are among the most intelligent and most gracious mammals on earth, some say even more intelligent than people. There lies the dignity integrated in our art.

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