Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Virgil Naylor, Sr., Interview 1, Part 1

Virgil Naylor, Sr. was interviewed on March 30, 2016 by Karen Brewster, Andy Mahoney, and Rebecca Rolph in his home in Kotzebue, Alaska. In this first part of a two part interview, Virgil talks about growing up in Noatak and learning to hunt and navigate on the sea ice. He talks about changes he has observed in ice conditions in Kotzebue Sound, including thinning ice, changes in the timing of freeze-up and break-up, the effect of freshwater and tides, and the effect of wind and current. He also talks about seal and beluga whale hunting, ice fishing, change in the sun's location, the importance of understanding the weather, and the subsistence seasonal round.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2013-25-33_PT.1

Project: Sea Ice Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Mar 30, 2016
Narrator(s): Virgil Naylor, Sr.
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster, Andrew "Andy" Mahoney, Rebecca Rolph
Transcriber: Denali Whiting
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Coastal Marine Institute, North Pacific Research Board
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
Slideshow
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Sections

Personal background, education, and jobs

Learning to hunt on the ice from his father and grandfather

Dirty ice

Hunting bearded seals in the broken ice, and importance of current and tides

Changes in the ice and travel route - Kotzebue to Cape Espenberg

Changes in ice pile-ups

Hunting bearded seals in broken ice

Hunting from Sealing Point

Changes in the ice and travel between villages

Noatak's seasonal subsistence lifestyle

Watching the current and the wind when hunting bearded seals in broken ice

Getting stuck in moving ice floes

Break up of Noatak River, Kobuk Lake, and Kotzebue Sound, and how break-up has changed

Use of fiberglass boat

Differences between freshwater and saltwater ice

Changes in ice, and thinning of ice

Effect of the wind, current, and tides on the ice

Changes in freeze-up and overflow

Change in the sun's location

Learning to hunt from his grandfather, and story about him walking long distances

Water flowing from rivers and ice lifting up in springtime during break-up

Bearded seal and beluga whale hunting, and seals floating or sinking depending on water's salinity

Sheefish fishing on Kobuk Lake

Determining when the ice is safe, and changes in the timing of fishing

Rough ice, and changes in ice piling up

Sandbars and channels

Hunting bearded seals by boat amongst broken ice

Changes in freeze-up

Hunting by the seasons

Importance of understanding the weather

Effect of the current and wind on the ice

Seasonal round of hunting and fishing

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Transcript

KAREN BREWSTER: Today is March 30, 2016 and this is Karen Brewster and we’re here in Kotzebue, Alaska with Virgil Naylor, Sr..

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yes ma’am. KAREN BREWSTER: At his home here. And also joined by Andy Mahoney and Becca Rolph.

And this is for the Sea Ice Project Jukebox. Thank you, quyanaq, for letting us come visit you today.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Quite welcome over here! Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So before we start talking about ice, I just want to know a little bit about you and your life.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: My life. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Okay

KAREN BREWSTER: When -- what -- where were you born?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well I was born in Noatak, Alaska, you know. Up line about 60 miles inland. And after ’52, I’ve been all over.

KAREN BREWSTER: And you said you’re 80 years old, huh?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, I am 80 years old as of February 1st. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. Great. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so you grew up living off the land, subsistence?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, I start from the beginning, yes. Very much. That’s the only way I -- we live long time ago by subsist. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Mm-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: And when did you move to Kotzebue?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, I moved to Kotzebue about ’65. That’s the year -- No, I moved way before that ‘cause we go across and come over here all the time for after season hunting in Nuvuraq. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Come over here to work and go back to Noatak, migrate back to Noatak.

And -- but we’ve been living here, my wife and I, 60 -- since ’65. That’s the year we get married. ANDY MAHONEY: Hmm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: For 50 years we celebrate our anniversary -- KAREN BREWSTER: That’s great. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: October. 50 years, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And have you had jobs along the way?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, I do have lot of jobs. To start off with I was a carpenter and I built schools all over Alaska with the construction. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: I took that trade in Mt. Edgecumbe. It’s half day vocation and the rest of it that kind of mix.

Then after being a carpenter I was -- further my study, go to electronics school at Los Angeles and in New York so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And after I graduate from there, I worked for White Alice system, electronic technician. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We repair Air Force communication system, maintain them. So -- ‘til they phased out about what, thirteen years with us. So.

I also have a job offers to go anyplace in Alaska where the White Alice sites were operating after they closed out, but I chose to stay here at home.

Back to subsistence and work. Aft -- the last job was I had in the school district being as a carpenter maintenance. Thirteen years there and that’s -- And from there I retired when I was 69. ANDY MAHONEY: Hmm. KAREN BREWSTER: You did. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Okay.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So how old were you when you first went out hunting on the ice?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, long -- long time ago they limit very few kids to follow the people to go out. But I did for -- Well, maybe I was nine.

Around there I start following the group of men going out there ‘cause there’s only mens out there on the ice hunting ugruks. And belugas.

So that’s -- so I was pretty young. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And who did you go with?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’s a group, my dad and there’s a crew they have. Them days they only have one boy -- you only have one boat for so many people.

And I go with my dad’s crew and my grandfather, Kumak. And that’s the way I went out with them all the time.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. And what was your dad’s name? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Dana Naylor. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Yeah. He’s originally from around here, too, I guess. And he died at '70, '71. I think someplace around there. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when you went out with that crew, where did you guys go?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We go out in the ocean where the ugruks are off from Sealing Point or wherever the good ice is.

When you go out there, you usually go out and look at the ice. I mean, if there’s a dirty ice ugruks won’t be on -- on top over the ice. They want -- look for good place to park, they just like clean ice. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: That’s what they like though.

So we go out where the good ice are. That’s the main thing. The first thing we look at and -- look for. And --

ANDY MAHONEY: So -- what’s the -- excuse me -- do you know -- where -- where does the dirt come from in -- in the ice? That -- you say the clean ice and dirty ice, is that the --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, sometimes the -- when it winters out there, there’s some spots out there that are kind of clear. They're not bundled up. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: But just like, you know, there’s a good ice right there, there always be good ice there. Sometimes it’s Kobuk ice coming out, it’s real dirty.

ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, so the dirty ice comes from the rivers? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay, yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. There -- there won’t be much of it, so you have to go further out toward Espenberg or -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Past Sealing Point. Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Way out.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when you were going out ugruk hunting, were you on the shorefast ice? The ice attached to the land?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, out -- no, no, no. We're out in the breaks. The only way you could go out is when there’s open water.

Otherwise, you get boxed in real easy out there with the -- especially when the ice are big pans. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: You don’t -- and plus you have to watch the current real, real close.

That’s another thing about the currents that come in nowadays. I mean, what they call the tide now, I guess. Start coming in from regular places now.

KAREN BREWSTER: What’s the difference between current and tide?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: The tide comes in with the -- you know, high tide and stuff like that? If you take a look it disappear all the time. And the tide tables, it’ll show you when the high tides. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And the currents goes with it. So it start coming in when the tides start coming in. Now when tides are coming in, it’s ahead of that tide so it start rolling in here. Just like in the Anchorage area -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: -- that they follow the beluga hunters down there, follow that tide also.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. So when you’re out on the ice hunting seal -- natchiq -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Natchiqs, ugruks -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Are you paying attention to the tide? Or the current?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, there wasn’t that much tide. That’s the problem. And them days they're just -- we never used to have tide before. Once it freeze up over here, October, used to be stay frozen. Right now, we get the overflows coming in. In December, it was open over here -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Again this year.

In fact, January it was open over there by -- down by what we call Akulaaq, this side of Sealing Point. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It was right to the beach, so --

KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. That was in January?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Just right to the beach this winter. Yeah, ‘cause no -- no place to hunt out there. Mm. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And the ice nowadays it’s -- you can’t even go across this bay to Espenberg now. It’s open whole winter just about. I mean, in and out, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We never used -- people from Shishmaref -- like my wife’s from Shish, they used to come over with snogos now they have to go all the way around Deering area. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: To come over here. In fact, we have some -- couple people from Fairbanks that followed the Iditarod with a snogo. Went to Shishmaref, back to Nome, and they were just over here about last week. ANDY MAHONEY: Hmm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And back to Nome again, snogo. I mean Fairbanks.

KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. But so people used to come across from Espenberg a lot?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Yeah, they used to -- ‘cause my wife is from Espenberg and I mean, not Espenberg but -- KAREN BREWSTER: Shishmaref.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Shishmaref and that area. They used to cut across right there snogoing. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. KAREN BREWSTER: Hmm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Now you can’t.

KAREN BREWSTER: And was there a trail that they followed?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, you had to follow the breaks of the ice ridges and all that to make the best trail, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Hmm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: You can’t just go right straight across, you have to follow where those pile-ups are and out and around.

ANDY MAHONEY: So -- so we saw some very small pile-ups yesterday. Maybe just -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: Wai -- waist high. How -- how big were the pile-ups that used to --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, they’d be way high up here. Sometimes they're up to that top of the house, where there’s real good pile-up. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, yeah. That’s a real big pile up. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what is that? How many feet are you talking?

ANDY MAHONEY: It looks like -- to the top of the building out there? So 30 -- 30 foot building. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: And when that ice piled up that high was it thick pieces?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, yeah, yeah. They’re not -- they -- they -- they -- that current is strong. Yeah. Very, very strong. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, you got to watch that too when the ice start coming in otherwise you get boxed in right there that’s -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: You're in problems. So we gotta be real alert on that part. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Mm-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: So that ugruk hunting you used to do, that was what time of year?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: As soon as the ice breaks up from -- from the ocean over here, down there. As soon as there’s an opening going out to where it’s kinda safe. We don’t really go way out when there -- when there'’s still ice over at Espenberg area in that ‘cause once it start coming out -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: The current is more swift over in Espenberg. It goes out fast, so. This is in (inaudible) -- there are three currents going across form Sealing Point all the way up to Espenberg.

There’s a mild current, little bit below force, and real force current over in the Espenberg area. So you got to watch that area when you’re over in that direction.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you’re going ugruk hunting by boat in -- is that May when the ice starts breaking?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It depends on break up, yeah. The earliest I hunt was around here was May 27. I was able to go out, so, yeah, I remember that. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: That to about --maybe about -- might be about ten, fifteen years ago. Yeah, that’s the earliest I’ve seen around here. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: When you were a boy did you ever go ugruk hunting from Sealing Point in the springtime?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No. Mostly our parents go beluga hunting across there, but my grandparents and the rest of the people go out to Sealing Point from Noatak to hunt ugruk and seals.

But with my dad, well, we go over -- over here, hunt beluga first and ugruk after. So --

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay, so you never camped out on the ice by Sealing Point.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, we camp out there. Way out there. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh yeah? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Sometimes with a boat, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Kind of twelve horse power we got a long time ago was a “putt-putt-putt,” you know. We have about five -- maybe one knot an hour, maybe. Yeah, they were pretty slow.

But we’d be out there, get a load. Sometimes over twelve, fourteen just to make sure we make use of that trip so --

KAREN BREWSTER: Twelve or fourteen ugruk?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, cause we -- they divide them amongst the families. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Everybody get a share. Yeah. Their share. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. And?

ANDY MAHONEY: Do you have the maps back there? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: That we had the other day?

KAREN BREWSTER: We have some maps -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Okay. KAREN BREWSTER: That Becca’s going to pull out. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Okay.

ANDY MAHONEY: Sometimes it helps to -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Uh-huh. ANDY MAHONEY: To be able to picture on -- on the map -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Uh-huh

ANDY MAHONEY: All the places that you’re talking about. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Okay, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So do you -- You go out natchiq hunting out when the ice is solid?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It depends. You can go out in the -- actually a couple -- couple nights -- three nights of young ice. It’s real rigid. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: If you know what you’re doing, you could even go over it with a snogo. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: But it’ll be wavey like, but it’s real rigid. But you better not stop though.

KAREN BREWSTER: So, have you done that?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh yeah, I’ve done that with the people over at Kivalina when we were hunting, so -- And these guys over there are daredevils. ANDY MAHONEY: Just --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We got some maps over here?

ANDY MAHONEY: Just some maps so that we can -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: You know, point to places.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: They even have a depth chart deal lately now. They just charted that about -- I think they completed that last summer or the year before.

ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah. These -- these are brand new charts from --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. I know they were scaling that back and fourth. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So was that the -- the NOAA ship -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Mm-hm. ANDY MAHONEY: Out here? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Doing the survey. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So -- so when you go out to -- to Sealing Point out here, in -- in June you go by -- do you go by -- you -- you wait for the channel to open up in front of town and you go by boat?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh yeah, actually that’s the only way we hunt with a -- ugruk and seals with a boat or -- this breaks up from Noatak first. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Noatak usually be real fast current, but right now it’s so shallow it’s -- it's not like that anymore. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, really? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’s real -- very, very low water up Noatak. Like drives the ice out and the ice from over here -- this year has been open mostly all the way to Deering. Most of the time.

Just like last year, that -- January was open all the way around to here. No ice around here. So that’s a lot of difference in a few -- few years time.

ANDY MAHONEY: Right, okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So -- so when you -- Deering down here in -- so -- so we’re here at Kotzebue, right?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Uh-huh, yeah. It’s been open. Like over here, they can’t cross anymore like I say -- ANDY MAHONEY: Right, between Espenberg and -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Kotzebue. Right?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. So these guys from Shishmaref last year, they had to drive all the way through Deering and all the way back over this way to Kotzebue, instead of going straight across there, so -- That’s a lot of --

ANDY MAHONEY: So -- so what times of year would people have been crossing here by -- by snogo? Would that have been as early as --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, about ‘60s around there they were going back and forth no problem, ‘65 around there, 'cause I was working White Alice that time and --

ANDY MAHONEY: Okay. Right, right. And then what -- what months of the year would they be doing that?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Springtime, around this time. They’d come around here. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: With -- for trade or something or -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: For whatever they got, so. Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, a long time ago when Sisualik was the trading place -- you know, your grandparents time, before that -- Sisualik, everybody came to trade. Did Shishmaref people and Kivalina people -- ?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No, no, no, they would in Kotzebue, I guess. They didn’t go to across that far to Sisaulik. No.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, they traded here? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: But Shishmaref, Kivalina people would come?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No, all -- very few people from Kivalina. Yeah. In fact, when boats used to come around just -- just to visit not to hunt, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, the families. ‘Cause we’re kinda related around this area. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Close relatives around, all over around here.

KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. When you were a boy, do you remember how far out people might go into the ice?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well I’d say about -- around this area, but I’ve been all the way to Point Hope with a boat sometimes. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Just to drive around. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. When I -- just -- just to drive around when I had that first fiberglass boat. I just cruise all the way across and --

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, yeah, I was wondering when you were young, if this ice out here off of Sealing Point was good ice and people would go out -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah that’s -- KAREN BREWSTER: Hunting?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. That’s -- people go Sealing Point. And they call this Qiliqmiaq, and -- and this is Ukalliqsauq, that’s Rabbit Creek.

Yeah, this is Gartham Point and this is Sealing Point. They come from Noatak and go wherever they want to camp for the summer. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. And us, we go from Noatak to our muskrat hunting camp, right -- My family, my dad and them.

Make some money off of the -- off the pelt. That’s the only way we could do it. And we come down with the boat and go over and go fetch the people over from that way. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. That’s -- that’s our life cycle of our winter. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. And comes around October. No, September. August, we start migrating back to Noatak. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So Noatak people would come and go seal hunting -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh yeah -- KAREN BREWSTER: In the springtime?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s for ugruk mostly 'cause ugruks come in about just like right now.

We’re tracking ugruks with these scientists from Washington State. We -- we -- they buy -- put a nets out. That’s the first time they’ve been caught and --

They tried all over Norway and everything. And that first year we went out, we were lucky to catch three of them at first try. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. They took us down -- a bunch of us down to Washington to the university and question us about what materials we need to try to catch ugruks. And we were successful for it. KAREN BREWSTER: Cool. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So, did you ever hunt ugruk or natchiq from the edge of the ice where you go out with a kayak?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, not with a kayak. No. KAREN BREWSTER: No?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No. Easier way with a boat.

KAREN BREWSTER: You wait ‘til summer when it’s easier?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. And that’s -- as soon as the break up we go out where it’s kinda safe -- KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. ANDY MAHONEY: Hmm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: As soon as the big chunk of -- a big pan of ice drift out, it’s real safe. It’s about broken up out there, so --

ANDY MAHONEY: So once it breaks up into small pieces it gets safer?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, it is. You know, you have more leeway of escaping which direction the -- ANDY MAHONEY: Right, right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. But you have to watch the current. Nowadays out there, it’s real different. It just comes in and so -- if you had a tide table you could go out there when it’s kind of slow. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And go anyplace you want to and make sure you watch the current, though. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: So make a beeline back before it start coming in or going out.

ANDY MAHONEY: So, is the current driven by the wind? Do you -- do you have to pay attention to the wind, as well? Or are you --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: The wind -- The wind, I’d say, well, actually a lot of wind from the west side always bring a lot of fog. So you gotta watch that, too.

ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, the fog. Okay, yeah, yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. It rolls in from the west side -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And if it's a east wind, it’ll blow it out. But you cannot try to be out there when it’s foggy. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Because the west side brings a lot of water out there, so you could be boxed in within minutes when you’re out on the ice.

So you go watch that number one when you’re out there. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So that’s something you’re really concerned about is that if you’re -- if you’re between the ice floes that they can close around you? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: And -- and then you get -- you get stuck. So that’s --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, you have to -- that’s the main thing, you gotta watch out there. I teach that a lot with my young crew. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: But they’re pretty good out there that I trust them, so -- My boy is a good hunter, too.

KAREN BREWSTER: Have you ever gotten stuck in the ice?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: For seven hours is the longest I get stuck.

ANDY MAHONEY: For how many hours? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Seven hours.

ANDY MAHONEY: Seven hours. Were you -- did you have to pull your boat up on the ice?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, I had a little 18 -- 18 foot with -- we just put it up on top of there and go to sleep. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: 'Til the current takes over.

ANDY MAHONEY: That doesn’t sound so scary.

KAREN BREWSTER: No, but you -- you came -- the ice moved you back towards town, you didn’t go out?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, well if it goes out it just go out. That’s the thing of it. But once the current slow down, it’ll start spreading out, too, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It opens up.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you could get back. Yeah. So how did it happen that you got caught?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: That ugruk make fun of us. No kidding. No kidding.

That’s -- this -- this guy know every time we shoot at it it wouldn’t -- you know they -- they -- when we shoot at them they just splash all the way down, but this one would just come up, we shoot, we missed it, and it just go down.

We play around with it and next thing we look back, we’re closed in. ANDY MAHONEY: Hmm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Them kind of animals you got to watch, too, when you're out there. They’ll make fun of you. They will.

KAREN BREWSTER: He was distracting you. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Very much, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: You learn -- you learn fast. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: I was going to ask something. Oh, you were talking about when it breaks up and the ice gets into those pans. How does Kobuk Lake and Noatak River breaking up affect the ice out the --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, Noatak River break up first. And this, oh, Kobuk Lake goes on -- maybe -- much later, after awhile, it starts going out from here.

Noatak breaks this open first and after that Kobuk Lake starts going out and it’s real packed. You can’t even go out sometimes, wait for long time.

From this side. It’s best to be across Nuvuraq when it’s doing that, that way you have a lot of lee -- ‘cause this over here is usually open around that area, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: So the ice from Kobuk Lake kind of blocks the --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, it’s real clogged. Closed in it with that slushy ice and all that bunch of it just closed a little bit all the way coming out.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. Has that break-up changed since you were younger? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Very much. Very much. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: How has it changed?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, it used to come out real, real lots. I mean, real big chunk of ice and all that.

But right now it just melts down back in Kobuk Lake and around that. And even Noatak, it just breaks through and just that’s it. There's not much ice to come out now.

ANDY MAHONEY: So the ice melts here in Kobuk Lake before --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, sometimes it’ll be going back and forth according to the wind drives it back over this way. It’ll be stuck around here for a while and it'll start melting out and what’s gone. Sometimes currents that are in here just start taking it out again right through here, so -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So you mentioned you had a fiberglass boat. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: Is that better in the ice than an aluminum boat? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh yeah, it’s a -- that's a good boat. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: I -- I prefer fiberglass over tin. Tin boats are real noisy. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay, oh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: They’re real -- but fiberglass, just like -- just like wooden boats are good, too. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: But lotta maintenance with those wooden boats when we make like a -- ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: But the fiberglass, you just park it, that’s it.

KAREN BREWSTER: That makes sense, the ice hitting the side of a aluminum boat would be noisy.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Even from the water you could hear it. You could hear banging and all that from a distance, but it depends on how -- how the V is built, too, in the boat, so but -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Some -- some of them fly behind you, you could see them “click, click click.” Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: Is -- is the fiberglass boat stronger? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, very much. Very much.

ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, so you're -- you're less worried about maybe hitting a small piece of ice in the fiberglass boat? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: They’re -- they're good. They’re good. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: I get -- both of my boats are fiberglass boats. ANDY MAHONEY: Uh-huh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: I got one a 26-footer and the other one is a 16, so. Yeah. And --

ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. My wife has a fishing boat down in Haines. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Mm. Uh-huh. ANDY MAHONEY: In Alaska. It’s a 38-foot fiberglass boat. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Wow. Uh-huh.

ANDY MAHONEY: They've -- they’ve broken some thin ice, and --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. You could -- yeah -- you could actually -- you know that -- You could actually go through thin ice out there with no problem, ‘cause it breaks through. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. It’s rigid out there. The salt water's real rigid compared to Noatak freshwater. ANDY MAHONEY: That’s --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And that freshwater ice of Noatak is real sharp. It’ll go through your boat real -- real -- ANDY MAHONEY: It’ll -- it’ll puncture the boat, you mean? Or -- ?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, it’s more sharper than the sea ice.

ANDY MAHONEY: The sea ice. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That -- it’s a bit softer than the sea ice, right?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, it’s stiffer than that sea ice. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm. Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. In fact, right now Kotzebue, Nuvuraq, October, November I used to be able to drive truck across. ANDY MAHONEY: Really? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. As soon as it ice up. ANDY MAHONEY: Uh-huh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: I mean, the ice built big enough, I had a big truck right there. I’d take some wood and wood stuff from across here, what I gather, and take it back and forth -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Around November 1st, right around there. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Now it’s impossible. ANDY MAHONEY: Right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’s December, there’s water around here last year. First part of December. ANDY MAHONEY: Right. Between -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: January -- ANDY MAHONEY: -- here and Sisualik? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah. Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’s completely different ice we got nowadays, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’s thinner. Yeah. In fact, this year, I think I -- last summer, it went out so fast it fool a lot of people. Because we usually wait around 'til we start ugruk hunting, ‘cause we know it’ll be go out, but last year it went --

Last two years it’s been going out real fast and we had to chase it all the way to Espenberg area to hunt ugruks around here. ANDY MAHONEY: Hmm.

REBECCA: Why was it going out fast?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, the current and plus the thin ice is, you know, nothing to hold it much back out there. ANDY MAHONEY: Hmm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Thanks, mom (to his wife in the other room). She’s stuck with my hunting all the time, so she knows.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's Elsie in the background chiming in. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Mm-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, we were wondering about the wind. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: The -- the -- KAREN BREWSTER: And what the effect the wind has on the ice? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: The wind? KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. We gotta watch that wind, too, real easy. I mean, from west wind, no problem out there.

You know, it’s usually -- let’s see, let me phrase that. West winds are be real close near the ice coming in, with the -- with the force of the wind. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Putting the ice back this way. So you gotta watch that also.

But -- but the current is strong, too. When the current’s going out, it’s the tide is what we -- we used to never have tides around here. Now even we get overflows around November. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: December. They start coming in just like they're overflowing, the tide comes in.

KAREN BREWSTER: So the tide is lifting up -- ? (lifting up the ice from underneath as the water level rises)

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It goes over the ice, what’s already there. So. Something --

ANDY MAHONEY: So, Ross mentioned that yesterday, I think. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: About -- about how there’s -- the ice isn’t bottom fast as much anymore so it can lift up. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: And water can get underneath it. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: And then water can get over the top. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Seeps up in there. ANDY MAHONEY: Through the cracks.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, like I said, the bay in between here it ice up all the way to the bottom. So we have no chance. It goes over it real easy over here. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’s real shallow across between here.

What never left, it goes over it and we have overflows now. Like in December. Just --

KAREN BREWSTER: And you used to never have overflow?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No, no. Once it’s froze, it used to freeze. October, no problem. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. We used to dog team sometimes November 1st from Noatak. No problem. KAREN BREWSTER: Across to Kotzebue? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. From Noatak.

KAREN BREWSTER: Now -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Would you go across? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No. It’s open over here in November. ANDY MAHONEY: And so --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Unless I teach my dogs how to swim, maybe.

KAREN BREWSTER: But could you go around? Across Kobuk Lake.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No, that's it. You can’t go across that Noatak River, that’s when you’re coming down. You have -- you can’t --

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, even the river’s not -- Kobuk Lake’s not frozen yet by then?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, it freeze. But we don’t go way up that way to -- You know, we try to make it short -- short cuts around when -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you could go way around, long way? No -- people don’t do that though. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No, no. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

ANDY MAHONEY: So -- so the overflow and -- and -- and the -- the flooding, is that salt water or is it river water, fresh water? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Salt water. ANDY MAHONEY: It is salt water. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, okay. Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: The tide’s coming in. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, we never used to have that kind of problem. No tides before. You know why it’s happening?

ANDY MAHONEY: It’s the first I’ve heard about it, so I don’t -- I don’t have a quick answer for you, but what -- what Ross --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: What -- what -- what about the climate change?

ANDY MAHONEY: Well, what Ross suggested yesterday was that because the ice is thinner that means out where -- where the water is like five feet deep, -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Uh-huh. ANDY MAHONEY: The ice used to be frozen to the bottom. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Like across here, yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: But -- but now the ice isn’t frozen to the bottom, so when the tide comes in, it can get underneath the ice. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It can -- where it can, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: And -- and lift it up. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And lift it up. Yeah, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: And then --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And it breaks it up no problem. ANDY MAHONEY: It -- it breaks it and then if you get a crack -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: -- that water can come up -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yup. ANDY MAHONEY: -- on top of the ice, and flood the ice. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And -- yeah -- and -- yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: I think that’s what Ross was saying. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, that’s it.

ANDY MAHONEY: But that’s not my answer, that’s Ross’s answer for it. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, that’s -- yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: That’s my interpretation of it. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: 'Cause some parts it’ll be right -- right to the bottom though. And it’ll just go right over real easy. ANDY MAHONEY: Right, right. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So it -- it might be related to the thinning of -- of the ice. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: And -- and that seems to be a -- a -- a consequence of --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And -- and why is it thinning?

ANDY MAHONEY: Well, we -- we think that there’s more heat in the ocean. The ocean is warmer. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: And that that is ocean heat. So in the summer time because there’s less ice -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: -- the sun is putting more heat into the water. So it -- there’s -- the ocean gets warmer in the summer. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Mm-hm, mm-hm.

ANDY MAHONEY: And so you’ve got to cool it down more before you can start growing ice.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Or put the thermostat down.

ANDY MAHONEY: You know, somebody -- somebody just needs to turn the thermostat down. That’s right.

We’re just trying to find where -- we can’t find the thermostat. That’s the problem.

KAREN BREWSTER: We don’t know where the switch is!

ANDY MAHONEY: There’s -- there’s also some indication that there’s more heat coming in from the other side of the Arctic out on the Atlantic side. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So in the north Atlantic, that warm water -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: -- is coming in.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: El Niño? El Niño, what they call that?

ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, El -- El Niño is on -- on the Pacific side here -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, it’s -- it’s sort of creeping up. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Yup.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. You know, something is that -- that I keep thinking about lately, too. In 1965 -- Excuse me for a minute here, I’ll show you a picture.

Father, in 1965 --

KAREN BREWSTER: You can -- you can sit down and I’ll put it on the camera.

ANDY MAHONEY: Your grandfather in 1965?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, that’s the last time I saw him alive, ‘cause I go Noatak, so this --

ANDY MAHONEY: This -- this is here in Kotzebue? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No, Noatak.

ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, this is in Noatak? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Andy, hold it up right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Okay. My grandfather Kumak, Ezra -- Ezra Booth is right here in 1965, and that’s me, Virgil. And my wife at that time -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: -- was carrying a -- our firstborn. ANDY MAHONEY: Wow.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And we name it after him. And he died July 11 and our boy was born July 12. So -- ANDY MAHONEY: Really?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We had to, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, wow.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And while we were out there, I go up there and visit him. I worked for White Alice system and -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: My days off I go up there, stay with him. And while we were out there, right there, he tell me, right across -- there’s Noatak up this way, right? KAREN BREWSTER: Ii. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And there’s a high mountains over here. ANDY MAHONEY: Right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We call Mayumaruqs. ANDY MAHONEY: Mayumaruq. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Okay, he say the rising of the sun used to be on this side of the Mayumaruqs when he was growing up. Now it’s way up there in the east. It just dawned on me the shifting of the axis.

ANDY MAHONEY: The sun is in a different place. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: The shifting of the axis.

REBECCA: That’s the second time we’ve heard that. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ross mentioned that, too. REBECCA: Ross --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: I mean it didn’t dawn on me when he told me that, you know, that rising of the sun went way over to the east side of those Mayumaruq Mountains. I just thought of that.

ANDY MAHONEY: That’s a big -- a big change.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: I mean, he noticed that, you know? ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: Well, if you’re out there all the time, you notice these things. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: What was his Iñupiaq name? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Kumak. KAREN BREWSTER: Kumak. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did he teach you about hunting and -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, very much. KAREN BREWSTER: Going on the ice ?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Very much, yeah. He was a great hunter.

This guy was a walker, also. He’d be hunting for his parents at Sealing Point -- I mean Rabbit Creek. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And after he hunt for his parents, he’d walk all the way past Noatak to go hunt fawns for inside parky. Walk all the way up where they --

ANDY MAHONEY: He -- he would hunt what, sorry?

KAREN BREWSTER: Fawns, caribou fawn skins? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yes, for inside parky. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: So he’d go walk all the way past Noatak up there, and by the time he get caribou and stuff, he’d come down. ANDY MAHONEY: Wow.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: He’d make a boat out of the caribou skins. He just make a willow frame -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And put them over there. Real floatation. Real good on that with the fur out. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: So he’d come down with furs. By the time he get to Noatak, people from down here would be up there at Noatak right there seeing him come back. So that guy was a hunter and a half. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: I mean, he's walking up that distance, you know. Way up there. ANDY MAHONEY: Wow. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: A few hundred mi -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Noth -- nothing to it.

KAREN BREWSTER: A couple hundred miles?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: More than that. Just from here to Sealing Point toward Noatak is about maybe a hundred miles there.

So -- what -- if you go way up to the -- where the fawn of caribou fawn.

ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, up on the -- the North Slope, you mean. Right where the --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Well, around by Colville area. Colville. Colville. I guess someplace around --

KAREN BREWSTER: Colville. Colville. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, he’d go over (the Brooks Range)? Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And go to Noatak River in that area and come down -- ANDY MAHONEY: Wow.

KAREN BREWSTER: That’s like over Howard Pass or something. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Man. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: That’s something else. It just dawn on one that, about him saying the rising of the sun. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: So I think the shifting of the current, that’s our problem, right now. ANDY MAHONEY: Right. Okay. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. Interesting.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, I -- I -- I -- the warming of the area here -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Is shifting the axis of the world. KAREN BREWSTER: Interesting.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Why do you think there’s a lot of friends down in the Lower 48 now? (laughter) ANDY MAHONEY: Warmer water.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, they’re all going down. Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Just -- I don’t know. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Mm-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: So this term, supi? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Supi is when -- when the ice go out. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, supiruq we always say. In other words, the ice is going out. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’s opening up. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Any ice, does it matter? River, lake, ocean?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Any -- anything coming out from the streams is supi. That's what -- Any ice from the streams are going out, we call it supi.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then how does that affect the ocean ice? When it starts happening.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well that’s -- that’s should everything coming out, it goes to the ocean. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Everything -- everything from up there goes out to the ocean and that makes a lot of current then.

KAREN BREWSTER: Does it make the ocean ice rise up? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: I have no idea, yeah. Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: How long does supi last? Is it -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Until the last ice come out from the rivers.

ANDY MAHONEY: Is that several weeks or -- ? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, just like a whole week. Week and a half. This Kobuk ice is from -- Selawik Lake ice goes out kinda after. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: But a lot of time it melts up there, too, I think. But -- ANDY MAHONEY: Okay, yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: You can’t even go out once it start going out through -- through this channel. You can’t go out boating. You can’t go through, it’s just so packed together.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, with ice? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: The ice. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Uh-huh.

ANDY MAHONEY: So you can’t go across the ice and you can’t go through the ice either? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, that’s it. Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah. Okay, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you have to wait on one side or the other?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’s best to be across Sisualik side, ‘cause it’s not going -- it’s going out through Kotzebue, not over that way over there. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay, yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: This Noatak River ice, I mean, current keeps this open, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, that’s right. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So if you’re on Sisualik side, people can go by boat up the coast and go ugruk hunting?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. That’s the trick of it right there.

Beluga hunting, there’s no boats bothering you, you’re out there by yourself and you -- It’s quiet out there, too. There’s no boats going back and forth. Yeah. yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you go for beluga up towards Sealing --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: This -- this -- this area over here. There’s Sisualik over here -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And there’s Kotzebue. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We anchor about right here and as soon as they start coming in, we wait for them ‘til they pass us, and we just drive them over here to the shallows. ANDY MAHONEY: Ah, yeah, okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. It's struck to it, yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: And so how -- how much ice is around at that time? Is there scattered ice? Or is it all open water?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: There's some out there we could see, yeah. We could see some coming in and out right nowadays. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: So, you kind of got this -- like I said, tide’s coming in and out and it goes out and back and stuff. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: But if it’s windy sometimes drive it all the way out, too.

East wind is real bad. That’s what happened, we had a lot of east wind last year and it just drive the ice out and we didn’t have much time to hunt ugruks.

ANDY MAHONEY: Right, cause the ugruks are on the ice when you’re hunting them? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. That’s the best -- ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Best way to hunt them is on top, yeah. Otherwise, if you shoot them in the water they just sink right there. Lost one right there, so -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do natchiqs sink? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, yeah. This time of the year -- Oh no, this time they’ll be -- they'll float. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, this time of year.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: ‘Cause the salt content is high. Noatak -- the river's not really coming out and so -- ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: -- they'll stay afloat right now. ANDY MAHONEY: Right, okay.

KAREN BREWSTER: But in the summer time, they don’t? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: They sink. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: They sink? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Mixture of the clear water. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’s -- Excuse me.

KAREN BREWSTER: So the water's more salty now? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Uh-huh. That’s it. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So, have you ever seen -- and I -- I’ve heard about this actually from some Iñupiaq -- or not Iñupiaq but some -- some Inuit in Clyde River, they talked about they’ll see a natchiq sink, but then it’ll -- it’ll sink only to a certain depth. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: Where they hit the salt water. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Uh-huh.

ANDY MAHONEY: You see that here, too? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So he’ll sink a few feet under water? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We see some of them like they’ll be -- see -- just start drifting away. You could see them down there. ANDY MAHONEY: Right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, but sometimes there are times when they'll sink right over. When you shoot that, you have a chance to harpoon them down, so -- ANDY MAHONEY: Right, okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So they sink down to the -- where the salt water is -- is below the fresher water. REBECCA ROLPH: Oh.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then they don’t sink any farther? ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Huh, interesting. So -- neat.

And you go for -- you go fishing? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Lots.

KAREN BREWSTER: For sheefish? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Sheefish. There’s some out there if you want some. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: What -- you go out on Kobuk Lake? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No, right over here. Noatak mouth. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, we just -- we just took those guys from Fairbanks that came up with snogo. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Go out fishing one day, we got -- load up. KAREN BREWSTER: Nice. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what time -- when -- what time of year -- what month do you first go out for sheefish?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, it’s been around -- lately -- Before, we used to go sheefish hooking way up Kobuk Lake. That’s in about -- what year, mom? ELSIE NAYLOR: I don’t remember.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Okay. Well, about ’60, ‘69 around there we used to go way up Kobuk Lake area. Around this area over here to go sheefish hooking.

Right now they’ve been -- we’ve been doing it Noatak mouth over here. Where’s Kotzebue at right now? Oh, right here. ANDY MAHONEY: Right here. Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Okay. We used to go around here, even in fact way over here we used to look for them. We used to continuously looking for sheefish around here. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Right now, it's right over here. Noatak mouth. KAREN BREWSTER: Huh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Since November. As soon as it slows up, December. Right now they’re out there yet, so -- In fact, I think --

I kinda think they had a water -- I mean a fish hatchery here and after that when the frys come out, when they let them out, they start noticing sheefish way up Noatak River. And after that they’ve been abundant around here. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm

KAREN BREWSTER: So they had what kind of a hatchery? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Salmon. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Chum salmon hatchery they had to for so many years. It’s closed down right now. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: But in springtime when they let them out, they’re all the way up to Suvisuk River. There’s those sheefish around there. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: I think that’s the one that probably spawn around there. I don't know, I’m not sure though. But they start going up that way, Noatak River. We never used to have that.

ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. So yeah -- so you start going for sheefish now, you said November?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. We -- we send a lot of them out. So we just -- my wife and I, do it for -- you know, we -- we -- we subsist a lot, but we -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: -- also have a lot of friends all over, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Barrow all the way to -- In fact, they’re all the way to Texas, too. Looking.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you -- you hooking? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Niqsiqing? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Niqsiq, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Niqsiq. Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then when do you stop? What -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: When we get a load. Or -- KAREN BREWSTER: No, no, if -- in the springtime -- when is the ice not -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, okay. Okay. KAREN BREWSTER: -- safe to go out?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: As soon as it break up. They’ll go -- if they want some fresh sheefish they’ll go Noatak mouth with a boat and cast right over here. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And there’s some around here across Sisualik when you’re fishing for whitefish break-up time. And trout, they’re around yet. So -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how do you decide the ice is not safe anymore? When you’re stopping.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, when you see a hole right there. You better not stop, keep on going. But it’s rigid, the ice is rigid. Some parts are. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Are you looking for a certain color or --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, it’ll -- it’ll be darkish color. When it’s white, even when you’re ugruk hunting out there, you could walk to white ice and there’s open water right there and --

But when it’s darkish like that, it's just usually breaks through. But when it’s white ice around there you could follow that white ice and -- and go to where you get the ugruk.

They always be in the white ice like -- like I said.

KAREN BREWSTER: So sheefish hunting now -- I mean sheefish fishing -- what, like April, May you stop?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, April I guess. Yeah. It depends on how much you -- how much you -- you -- you want to get more, so. Lots of mine's go to Barrow, too. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: To whalers up there so --

KAREN BREWSTER: I was wondering if this -- this -- in the old days if you could go out sheefishing later in the spring than now. Is it shorter now? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: April. KAREN BREWSTER: April still?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: April, March, April. I guess, April they used to dog team and go hook up there. Way up there. They used to take tents. And now, much early. KAREN BREWSTER: Yup. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Way -- much early now. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So they used to camp out and go fishing? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, they used to do that when they dog team ‘cause of -- you could travel so -- so far with a dog team, you know.. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It's quite a distance some place they have to go, so --

KAREN BREWSTER: What about rough ice?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Rough ice is terrible. Yeah, that’s -- that’s what we try to stay away from, rough ice. ‘Cause it’s real bad for you to haul ugruks and stuff like that. They, you know, they're heavy.

And the rough ice it’s bad for your snogos when you try to get stuck easy, but you try to take the most straight -- I mean, the clear ice routes.

And rough ice now, when you’re ugruk hunting they’re pretty hard to find, too. But if you see a rough ice and there’s a little clear pan of ice, that’s where the ugruks usually be, too.

So you have to keep on poking that, take a look around when it’s rough ice.

KAREN BREWSTER: Does the rough ice make it safer out there?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’s much harder, yeah. Pile up, a lot of pile up. Yeah. Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So has the -- has the roughness, the -- the pile-ups, has -- have you seen any changes with that? Do you see fewer pile ups?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Not enough pile-ups nowadays, seems like. Because of that thin ice is getting so thin, you know, it doesn’t really -- big chunks of ice doesn’t really go up that much. ANDY MAHONEY: Right, right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: You know, it just piles of them like that sometimes, and that’s it. And lot of fresh ice out there right now, so it doesn’t have much chance of really piling up.

ANDY MAHONEY: Right, right. Right. I think we saw that on -- on Monday. The pile -- the pile was made of ice that was probably only like this thick. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: And then it wasn’t then very high. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did it ever used to pile up on the beach in front of Kotzebue?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Very much. When the ice is coming up from Kobuk Lake, it’s real bad over here when it’s really coming out over on the north end of it. It really piles up now. The current is strong.

KAREN BREWSTER: So it piles up now on the north side? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Kotzebue?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Yeah. Last spring, it even went up to our road and kinda hit the buildings over at that end over there. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, it really --

KAREN BREWSTER: But it never used to do that?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It used to, but not -- sometimes. It used to pile up quite a bit, you know. But now it seems like it’s been going up quite a bit now. So --

ANDY MAHONEY: And that -- that pile-up occurred during supi? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. yeah, yeah. From -- from Kobuk and Selawik Lake. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Not from -- Noatak mouth for a little while ‘cause it comes out pretty fast. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: What about pile up here on Front Street.?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It does. Across there, it’s real shallow. The channel around here is about 45 feet and that’s the deepest part over here.

But the other side is about, maybe that -- that deep. KAREN BREWSTER: A foot deep.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, at the most. Some -- some -- not the most but -- it’ll be that way, but as soon as it gets close it’s at about a foot deep so -- It's sandbar across there. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Two, nowadays. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We never used to have sandbars across here. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Across the channel. ANDY MAHONEY: Right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Very -- only fall time. No -- Sandbars every time now.

ANDY MAHONEY: Okay. Right. So there’s changes in the -- in the sea bed. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, very much.

KAREN BREWSTER: So in the -- back in the ‘60s, did the ice pile up up Front Street?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, when it first come out, usually it really pile up. Just like Noatak, first come out, it push all that ice and piles up. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And Noatak River used to be real swift coming out. But it’s been melted -- most of Noatak River has been melting up the river lately. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, it’s getting so shallow.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. I was wondering if the ice piles up in Front Street from the ocean pushing it? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It’ll -- KAREN BREWSTER: No?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It'll -- Not that much, 'cause we lot of -- lot of shallows out there. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Besides the channel, it's out there mostly.

KAREN BREWSTER: So it piles up farther out? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Further out, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: About ten miles out or so. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Even back as far as the ‘60s? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: I find that interesting about the channel out here -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Uh-huh, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And how that opens up first?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s Noatak opens this up first. Noatak River. That channel -- KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Part of that channel across there. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So that’s -- so this is a -- a -- you know, a smaller area just around Kotzebue. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: So here’s Kotzebue. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: Here’s Sisualik. So this is the channel, right? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Right, right. Right -- right from here -- ANDY MAHONEY: And it opens up from the Noatak, yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: From here, it goes out this way. There’s a channel also you have to follow. It’s shallow over here and shallow this part, but the channel goes out this way. It’s about 45 feet in front of the deepest part. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: In my depth finder. And goes -- opens up the channel first -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: All the way right through the ice over here.

ANDY MAHONEY: And so -- so you were saying it’s better to be on the Sisualik side? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: When you’re hunting earlier -- earlier time -- ANDY MAHONEY: Right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: While the ice is coming out, yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So if -- if you don’t get to Sisualik before this channel opens, you’re stuck here at Kotzebue?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, well, mostly from -- not -- not that long from Noatak ice when it -- when it goes out.

But the one we want to be across there before is the Kobuk Lake start going out. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh, okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: You want to be across there. Because this is continuous, close fitted ice going out. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when that channel opens up, people go out by boat -- VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And come around out here?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Out here, anyplace where there’s open water. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We -- this is shallow over here. So we have to -- there’s a channel that goes out and you could go across this way. Or this way, there’s a channel like going to Nuvuuraq.

Nuvuuraq or Sisualik, so we call it either way.

KAREN BREWSTER: Or then up to Sealing Point? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: You can get up out here and go up the coast?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah we usually -- as long as there -- as long as you feel safe with the busted ice and all that. That big pans.

You could actually go around out there and watch the current same time. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Is that when people go out ugruk hunting that way? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We want them real close by. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Don’t have to drag them too far, ‘cause they’re heavy.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, yeah. And did -- A long time ago, did people do it that same way?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh yeah. Yeah, they -- well, with a boat, old boats they have long time -- they didn’t have much outboard motors -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: ‘Til late about ’40. About ‘45 around there they start having outboard motors. Yeah. And the ten horse was a powerful motor. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Now, I got a 250 in my boat.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, that’s why I was wondering. Back -- old dog team days, they used to go camp out on the ice by Sealing Point. They didn’t have boats with motors.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: They have kayaks. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: But they had the skin boats, also. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. They used to pack their skin boats out. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

REBECCA ROLPH: How long does freeze-up take? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Up -- up here? REBECCA ROLPH: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: When it start freezing? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

REBECCA ROLPH: Yeah. Like from open water ‘til when you can drive a snow machine?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: When it ices up again or when it --

REBECCA ROLPH: Like when you feel safe to go out on the ice. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh, on the ice.

REBECCA ROLPH: Yeah. Has that changed? Like did they it used to happen faster? Or -- ?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Right now, it’s been open water so much. But actually, you can snogo through not too thick of a ice.

But -- but then you have to wait -- watch -- it might crack up on you behind you someplace and -- ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: So you -- you have to really watch.

Snogos right now, I know we have to watch, also. It’s not too safe to hunt out there still.

But if there’s a west wind coming in now it’s -- you'll see it when you go out with snogos. ‘Cause it’s packed. I mean, it wouldn't have a chance to open up. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: So you -- you wait not just until the ice is thick enough, but also -- REBECCA ROLPH: The wind.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, we don’t hunt ugruks that time of the year anyhow so -- ANDY MAHONEY: Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: So it’s -- it’s a spring hunt. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah. REBECCA ROLPH: Oh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Spring and fall hunt. ANDY MAHONEY: So --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Fall hunt. They’ll -- they’ll fall hunt with a boats over here from -- with -- For young ugruks and spotted seals. REBECCA ROLPH: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: With boats. REBECCA ROLPH: Uh-huh.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: That’s it. After that, it’s pretty null ‘til about maybe -- We don’t really go out hunting for about maybe January, February around there. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Why do you wait so long to go out?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, we don’t -- we don’t -- we hunt season by season. You know, we don’t have much gas and oil and stuff and -- KAREN BREWSTER: So --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: So wintertime we do caribou hunting. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And we go season by season. We didn't have no freezers then, you know. REBECCA ROLPH: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: You know, it's whatever we have we have to consume.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you -- so you’re waiting 'til January because of the animals, not because of the ice? Is that what you mean? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And you have different species of animals. Yeah, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: We seldom hunt out there unless we need to -- we have to. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. When you were a boy -- a boy, did you wait to go ‘til January, also?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No, Janu -- boy -- let’s see. After ’52, I mean, I was in high school way down southeastern Alaska.

KAREN BREWSTER: You went to Edgecumbe. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. And after that I’ve been all over. And I never did really start hunting ‘til I get out of -- out of service. And I was stationed in Washington state for when I was in service.

And I come back and do a little bit more work, but I didn’t really hunt in between ’52 maybe ‘til about ‘60s. Around there.

KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm. But before ’52, would you go out on the ice November, December?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No, no. No, no. No, no. We’re -- we’re -- we’re not out there. Only time we go out is springtime with the people from Noatak. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. We don’t -- I wasn’t over here, actually from Noatak. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So, how come people wouldn’t go out?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Well, it’s season for season. Like I just said, it starts being different species. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. So it’s the species.

ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah. You're looking for caribou. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, you were caribou hunting.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, caribou, or hunting, or trapping. Wintertime, mostly. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. What would you trap?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Fox. Whatever -- whatever we can get for -- For the pelt was money for us then. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It was. It still is. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, but the fur has been pretty low lately. KAREN BREWSTER:Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Low price.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Yeah. Are there other things that you learned from your grandfather and father? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh the --

KAREN BREWSTER: About how to -- how to know it’s safe to go out?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Oh yeah, the weather. KAREN BREWSTER: The weather?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Always the weather first. Yeah. First thing he tell me was when it’s stormy, there’s like white ice stuff out there, you're out there. And it clears up from --

Let’s see, let me take that back now a little bit. When it clears up from this way, don’t get fooled by it.

ANDY MAHONEY: So is that under -- from -- from an east wind? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Over this way. ANDY MAHONEY: Right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: But when it clears up from north way going this way, that’s the time it clears up.

Just like a -- what they call that? Jet stream. Pulling that. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm. ANDY MAHONEY: Okay, yeah. Yeah. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: And so -- and when you say clears up, you mean like the clouds and the fog? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: The clouds, the fog, everything. ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Lifts up, yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Right. Right, right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And goes up. High pressure come in.

ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, right. When the high pressure comes through. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what happens if it comes from the east?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: From the east side it’s -- we can’t trust that. Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

ANDY MAHONEY: As in you -- it might -- it might turn bad again quickly? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Like, it’s going to change quickly? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Right.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Weather is the most important thing they learned a long time ago. KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Over Shishmaref now, I went over there ugruk hunting -- Well, I spent time -- months over there and take time off.

Over there, they only hunt seals and ugruks at springtime when it’s only north or northwest wind.

You never go out with snogos even when it’s calm. The current is too strong over there from this Espenberg current going out, KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: In Espenberg -- ANDY MAHONEY: Right, I see. Yeah, yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It's going out. So the current over here is much swifter.

Just like I said from here all the way to here there’s three different currents. Mild, stronger, and real fast current here. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. That’s one thing you gotta watch.

ANDY MAHONEY: So -- so you wait -- you don’t want to go out when it’s calm because that’s when the current is strongest?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’ll open up. It’ll open up real fast. ANDY MAHONEY: Right. Right, right. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: But a north, northwest --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: North, northwest is the safe place to hunt. KAREN BREWSTER: Is a safe place?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: It's Shishmaref. That’s one thing I learned from them. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, ‘cause it’s pushing it in.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. There used to be an old man waiting for me outside in the morning, ‘cause I’m an early riser and he say look around. And he knows the weather.

His name was Quŋiiq in Eskimo. He knows. He’s out there look at the weather.

Even if it’s northwest or north wind, he say it’s better to hunt on land. It’s going to change again. And he know that. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Sure enough, yeah. REBECCA ROLPH: Wow.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: People read the weather real good. REBECCA ROLPH: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. Now, where we at now? The end.

KAREN BREWSTER: I’m going to change the tape, I think. But maybe we’re at the end. Are we at the end?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: No, any -- --any -- any kind of questions, you know, besides those. Feel free.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I’m going to change -- ANDY MAHONEY: Rebecca, do you have anything?

REBECCA ROLPH: I think just that that was interesting you said you aren’t necessarily waiting for the freeze-up to happen to go out, because you’re still caribou hunting. And --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Fall time we do -- we start caribou hunting fall time with boats up Noatak River. To start off with. REBECCA ROLPH: Yeah.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And after it freeze up, we start ice fishing out here. Tom cod fishing and everything. ANDY MAHONEY: Hm.

REBECCA ROLPH: Okay.

KAREN BREWSTER: In front of town here?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, in front of town back here where we can find them. ANDY MAHONEY: Mm-hm.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: And after tom cod fishing we go look after -- Well, people will go out hunting January, February around there for seal hunting.

And we know it’s safe out to go out.

ANDY MAHONEY: And is that natchiq or ugruk?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Not -- not -- not ugruk. Ugruks migrate late about -- ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, okay. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: So that’s when --

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: They’ll be here about -- In fact, I have a -- They’ll be here about maybe as soon as the ice breaks up or before.

Through open leads they’ll be out there. But we really don’t hunt in that time because no -- Wintertime, we cant dry them. ANDY MAHONEY: Oh. REBECCA ROLPH: Okay.

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. So summertime, you have to cut them up and dry them up. Prepare them. And flesh them and all that so we don't really --

REBECCA ROLPH: So that’s why it’s later? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Uh?

REBECCA ROLPH: That’s why it’s later that you do it? VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Because you make dry meat -- REBECCA ROLPH: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: -- out of ugruk?

VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Very much. KAREN BREWSTER: Black meat. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah.

REBECCA ROLPH: Did we see ugruk when we were out there?

ANDY MAHONEY: Yeah, we saw ugruk and natchiq on Monday. REBECCA ROLPH: Okay. Yeah

ANDY MAHONEY: Well, I didn’t see the natchiq, but Ross said -- Cyrus said -- KAREN BREWSTER: Cyrus. ANDY MAHONEY: There was natchiq. VIRGIL NAYLOR, SR.: Yeah. ANDY MAHONEY: Uh-huh. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. REBECCA ROLPH: Okay.

KAREN BREWSTER: I’m going to change the tape for a second.