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Otis Ahkivgak, Part 3
Otis Ahkivgak

This is a continuation of the recording of Kenneth Toovak providing a verbal English summary translation of an interview he conducted in Iñupiaq with Otis Ahkivgak on December 8, 1979 in Barrow, Alaska. The interview was for UAF researchers Dr. Lewis Shapiro and Ron Metzner on the project Historical References to Ice Conditions Along the Beaufort Sea Coast of Alaska (Scientific Report, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1979). Kenneth summarizes each of the four original tapes made with Otis on separate new tapes. Ron Metzner is with Kenneth, asking clarifying questions. Unfortunately, the location of the original Iñupiaq tapes is unknown; the UAF Oral History Collection only has these English audio translations and their transcripts. In this third part of a four part interview recorded on June 3, 1981, Kenneth talks about Otis talking about ice movement and piling up on barrier islands, ice conditions on the Beaufort Sea coast, and whaling.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 97-64-05_PT.3

Project: Sea Ice in Northern Alaska
Date of Interview: Jun 3, 1981
Narrator(s): Otis Ahkivgak, Kenneth Toovak
Interviewer(s): Ronald Metzner, Kenneth Toovak
Transcriber: Lisa Krynicki
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.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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Ice piling up on barrier islands

Effect of location on whether winds and currents cause dangerous ice conditions

Ice conditions along the coast east of Barrow

Ice movement across spit and islands near Barrow

Whale lost at Cross Island drifting to Pingok Island

Role of a creator and lessons learned from whales

Eider duck hunting, and whale bones along the coast

Fall whaling around grounded pressure ridge

Finding grounded ice combined with tundra

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After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


RON METZNER: -- of Otis Ahkivgak. And June 3rd, 1981.

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah -- a question to Otis Ahkivgak asking to Otis whether he has seen ice piling up to the barrier islands or what the ice do in -- in the early fall freeze -- freeze-up.

And then Otis -- Otis say that when there are grounded -- grounded pieces of ice, like polar ice off shore, grounded and when the ice -- young ice kinda movements, young ice movements, he knew that he have seen the -- the younger ice piling up around the -- the grounded ice.

And then -- and that ice gets bigger around it. Around the grounded ice.

Asking a question about ice piling to the barrier islands.

When there are no grounded ice off from the barrier islands, sometimes they -- the wind along with the current like northeasterly winds, early freeze-up before the ice really gets thicker.

Sometimes the ice slide up so far into the island, to the barrier islands and then piled up right next to the barrier islands.

That is when there's no grounded ice off shore. In -- along the coast.

And then -- and also he mentioned that in -- in the spring after the ice has been loosened and part of it kinda thaw, melted. The -- when the wind came up from northeasterly wind -- wind blowing and then -- and then when some of the hunters camping out on the -- on the barrier islands, sometimes the -- the ice slide up in the spring storm.

And then -- and then -- and then the -- the ice movements in the spring are kinda -- kinda quiet. I mean they don't -- it don't make a really large noise. The -- the -- when the ice is piling up.

When the ice is getting kinda bit softer you -- the kinda moving in kinda quiet.

So he -- so Otis have noticed that before when the ice is moving in to the barrier islands.

At one time, I don't know the year, but anyway Otis know -- have heard that one of the families were out camping in one of the barrier islands.

And didn't ask him which island but this family they used to have a reindeer herd -- herders and then the -- this family that do some herding -- reindeer herding and then happened to having a tent set up out in the -- out in the islands

and then the wind came up at night while the people were sleepin'. The ice start to moving -- moving in and piling up.

And couldn't hear this ice movements, and this dog, what they call reindeer herder dog, kinda waking -- waking the family by -- from barking.

The -- this dog make some strange barking, and then waking this -- waking the family and then -- and then they got up -- woke up and then they got out of the tent, and then here they see the ice was piling up.

So that's -- so that's one thing that they -- the family found out by -- from -- from this dog.

Otis making a commenting about the ice -- it depends where -- where -- where you are.

Due to the wind and currents the ice is pretty danger of what -- of what he have seen. Otis made a comment on that.

Depends on where you are in the -- the inshore wind along with the current of what Otis made a comment that the ice is pretty -- pretty danger of -- of when -- when it start to do -- acting it's kinda danger to -- to see and to -- some of it he - - he heard it over the -- on the stories of what the old-timers telling stories of what he have heard.

RON METZNER: But did he say where? Where it's dangerous and when?

KEN TOOVAK: No, he didn't -- he didn't -- he didn't say where but that's depends where you are.

Like when you're -- were speaking about the -- the -- where you are. You know, like in -- at Barrow --


KEN TOOVAK: The -- here at Barrow the westerly wind is danger. When speaking about the ice movements.


KEN TOOVAK: So, in other words here at Barrow it's not real danger from northeasterly winds.

RON METZNER: Okay. KEN TOOVAK: Because northeasterly winds we got kinda bit offshore wind.

RON METZNER: Yeah, yeah.

KEN TOOVAK: But the westerly, here at Barrow, that's inshore wind. That's -- that means the -- the ice can piled up right in front of Barrow area.

RON METZNER: Okay. And it's different east of here.

KEN TOOVAK: Yes. So it's different --

RON METZNER: Different places.

KEN TOOVAK: Different places. I mean -- yeah. It's different the different -- I don't know what to -- how you explain it but it's the different the shape of the edge of the shore ice.

Up in -- up -- up around Beechey Point, if we had a northeasterly wind that means around Beechey Point that's in -- that's inshore wind.

RON METZNER: I see. At Beechey Point.

KEN TOOVAK: So -- yeah.


KEN TOOVAK: So that's inshore wind at -- around Beechey Point blowing from northeasterly and -- and at Barrow area we got offshore wind when we have this nor --northeasterly -- RON METZNER: Northeasterly -- KEN TOOVAK: -- wind.

RON METZNER: Okay, that -- that's clear. So -- okay.

KEN TOOVAK: Like we explain it a while ago that depends on where you are. And Otis made a comments about living at east of here -- between here and Barter Island.

Living in that area, northeasterly winds in the -- speaking about the -- in the summer months.

In the summer months, after the shore ice have been melted and drift away and then when the wind shifted over to northeasterly wind it brings the ice back in right next to the barrier islands.

And then south wind -- south wind, it when the wind is kinda strong in the summer months it keep the ice further rather than jamming in -- into the -- into the shore.

Even though that the south wind blowing in the general area around Beechey Point you can see the ice in the horizon or even closer sometimes even though -- even though it's blowing from south wind.

So in other words, on my understanding which I could mention that due to the pressure -- due to the pressure of the ice when we do have westerly winds here at Barrow, the -- the pressure of the ice keep the -- the ice --


KEN TOOVAK: Closer. Even though --

RON METZNER: The wind is -- KEN TOOVAK: -- that you're living at -- around Beechey Point.

RON METZNER: But the wind is -- the wind is keeping it from jamming right into the shore.


RON METZNER: But it -- because of the -- of the -- the pressure associated the -- the ice is still close enough to see.



KEN TOOVAK: I ask Otis what would ice, could do if there's no -- polar ice in the fall storm northeasterly.

It will from the northeasterly winds, when wind is kinda blowing oh -- kinda harder than usual.

Say like maybe 20, 25 miles an hour winds from northeasterly winds, when the -- when they -- there are happen to be some polar ice grounded in the -- in the -- in the front outside the barrier islands after the ice have formed in fall and then moving.

And then when it's moving in towards the shore and then ice piled up right against the pieces it -- creates some pile of ice around the -- around the piece of flow ice.

And that way the piece of ice enlarged --

RON METZNER: The pile enlarges?

KEN TOOVAK: The pile enlarged. In some places along the -- along in the front of the islands, barrier islands, they'll be no section of pieces of grounded ice and in other words where there's no -- I mean where there -- where there -- where it's clear no grounded ice in the front, the -- the inshore winds and the current brings the ice in all the way to the -- to the barrier sslands.

And Otis never really knew that he could remember to speak of that -- where there -- how high really he have seen the reaches that he never -- he never really to try and remember what he have seen before.

As I said earlier in the -- in the recording of what Otis mentioned on those -- on those reindeer herders happened to camp out on the -- on the barrier islands, at one time in the -- in the -- in the early spring after the ice melted around the islands and quite a way further out and then -- and then when the winds picked up from northeasterly, and then -- the wind and the current brings the ice in to where the -- those reindeer hearders were camping on -- in one of the barrier islands.

And the ice was moving -- moving and then was climbing up, sneaking into the tent while -- while the -- while the people were sleeping.

And they happened to have a dog as the -- as the -- as what they used for deer herding.

Those lab dog or whatever its called, they happened to have a -- a -- one of the dogs and then that dog see the strange ice scenery that -- moving in -- he starts barking, you know?

And then the wake -- wake up the -- the masters that are sleeping. The families, and that's how they get kinda alerted that the ice was moving and then climbing on to part of that barrier island.

And then I asked Otis -- talked with -- have a conversation with Otis. Between the Mclury -- Mclury -- what I mean McIntyre Point, excuse me.

Between McIntyre Point and -- and Cross Island, there's a -- the quite a lot of water in between the McIntyre and the Cross Island. At least maybe fifteen miles or better.

So I ask Otis in the summer months that whether the pieces of flow ice moving in -- into the bay.

So in the summer months when the winds and the -- the current happen to be blowing inshore wind, the -- the pieces of ice will drift in to the bay to the inside between Cross Island and McIntyre.

The pieces of ice will drift in, in the summer months when the ice happen to be kinda close by and the wind blowing -- inshore wind.

That will bring the pieces of ice, not -- not real big pieces but kinda bit small and -- and thin ice that could drift in. So he have seen those types of pieces drift in -- into the bay.

So -- The -- the -- the good sized pieces as we all know the bigger the flow the -- the bigger -- the thicker they are.

So actually the water, depth of the water in the area is not really deep to see the good sized pieces drift in.

So in other words the smaller pieces of what like Otis say it -- it -- it drift in to the bay. And then -- and the heavier ice grounded further out.

So -- so I ask Otis again whether or not he have seen any -- any ice climbing over the barrier islands. So I ask him on -- on that again.

On -- on the question of -- to see the ice sliding on the -- on the island, Otis nev -- have -- haven't seen ice really slide over to cover the whole -- I mean to cover the -- the width of the island. He haven't seen any such a thing happen.

But he have seen the ice climb up a bit to the -- to the sand bar and then start crumbled up and then create a -- a pile. So --

I -- I -- chat with Otis of what I -- what I have seen myself personally while I work at the -- at the Naval Arctic Research here at Barrow back at maybe 1973 or 74, I -- I forgot which exactly year but anyway, in that -- somewhere in that neighbor.

The -- the ice freezes in the -- in the lagoon and then -- and then early -- early -- early fall before the ice gets thick, oh heck maybe I'm talking about maybe like at least maybe four inch of -- three to four inch of ice, and then the tide came and then the wind shift over to south, the tide raises the -- that -- the ice that form in the Lagoon and then the south wind picked up.

The wind get stronger and then -- and then it -- the wind pushes the ice in the lagoon south -- south --

south wind raise and then push the ice and the ice slide over the -- the spit between the -- the Nuvuk and the -- and the -- and the Inuitqaq or Doctor Island what they call it or Green Island .

RON METZNER: In the pass?

KEN TOOVAK: Right at the -- in that pass.

RON METZNER: On that spit.


RON METZNER: So the lagoon ice went over the island to the ocean.


RON METZNER: So it was from -- from the lagoon going the other way --


RON METZNER: -- to the ocean.

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah. I have seen that happen.

RON METZNER: Uh-huh. And uh --

KEN TOOVAK: Right in that section where it slide over cor -- course the -- at one time the wind in the summer months was washing over that -- the --the spit and then cut the -- cut the -- the -- the spit got maybe try to make a channel.

And they'd lower -- lower the spit and then that -- that's where the ice slide over.

RON METZNER: So it was the low part of the island.


RON METZNER: It was the low part of the spit.



KEN TOOVAK: Yeah. Where there's a low part of the spit it means the ice slide over all the way across --

RON METZNER: And that was -- that was lagoon ice?

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah. That's lagoon ice.




KEN TOOVAK: I ask Otis again see if Taaqpak have killed a whale other -- other than that one time. The one he killed at -- at -- the one where he made that trip from Cross Island he caught that one and then so he when they were living at Cape Halkett they went out and they killed -- killed another one.

But I didn't know exactly whether he killed that one before that -- the one he killed at -- at Cross Island.

So in other words, Taaqpak have killed two -- two whales. One at -- one at -- one at the -- outside of Cape Halkett and one at the -- in front of the Cross Island.

Yeah, the one that Taaqpak shot and killed a whale at Cape Halkett, they removed the -- the flipper part and -- and they cut the flipper part and then take it home and then they left the animal quite a ways out from the -- from the shore ice -- I mean from the shore due to the -- the west, southwesterly wind start blowing and -- and the water start to getting rough so they -- so they anchored the animal with a boat anchor hooked a float --- a float on it -- on the end of the -- on the end of the line.

Left it there and in the meantime the southwesterly wind was blowing along with the ice -- flow ice moving where they left the animal.

And -- and after the wind died down they went out look for the animal see if they -- see if it still there but unable to find it.

So -- so they find out in fall after the ice have been formed, freeze over, the people living around -- around Pingok Island and around McIntyre and Beechey Point the animal -- the whale was -- the dead whale drifted all the way back close to Pingok Island and -- and -- and around Beechey Point. Yeah.

Chat -- Chatting with -- with Otis about the -- about the animal that was drifted back in between the Pingok and that area, they cut part of the animal, took it home -- took some maktak home and part of the -- part -- some part of the meat which is the meat that it's in the lower -- towards the flipper section.

The meat isn't really stinked. In other words, the front part of the animal section the meat is always gets kinda rot out --


KEN TOOVAK: Fast. Then -- then the -- the --


KEN TOOVAK: Back towards the flipper section.

RON METZNER: That'd be like a hip in a person?


RON METZNER: Back there?

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah. So the people have taken some of the meat also from the animal. When they start to butcher it in the -- in the -- in the -- in the early winter.

RON METZNER: This was the -- when it had drifted to Pingok?


RON METZNER: So they had --

KEN TOOVAK: But they were drifted and freeze --

RON METZNER: And they were taking meat from the animal then?

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah. And the maktak, also. Took it home and then people start to -- squabble about the animal.

People start to squabble squabble about the animal and say like fight about it, you know? Disagree about it. And first thing they knew was they -- they lost the whole carcass. They couldn't find it.

RON METZNER: Where was it frozen?

KEN TOOVAK: Well -- it was frozen in -- right in between the Pingok and the McIntyre Island -- McIntyre Point. The ice -- rest of the ice was -- was moved -- moved in.

And the ice was already good and just solid for the rest of the winter. And first thing they knew that they couldn't find the animal. The people. They looked for it all over. They couldn't find it.

And then -- that -- that's why Otis -- Otis say these animals you are not supposed to make real hard feeling about. Cause they got brained -- they got two eyes, they see. And they got the creator which is from above.

So they -- so they're not dumb. They're just like a human. So -- matter of fact I think they're better than the human the way -- the way what that Otis say that they disappear when the people disagree with -- with them.


KEN TOOVAK: Otis really mean it when he say that anything on the -- on the earth has a creator. No matter what.

There is a creator and the master of the controller of the whole -- the whole world. Of what Otis say that we think we control the earth. But we're not very -- There is a master controller of the whole world.

So what Otis say there is a controller of when the people on the earth disagree with anything. He take over. Sometimes in miracle. So that's what happened to that whale. It happened on a miracle. Disappeared. Miracle whale.

And the people wondered why. And then I chat with Otis of what has happened at -- at Point Hope at one time.

Fella named Tony Weber and his wife, Hilda, they -- they are from Point Hope and they moved and lived here in Barrow for -- oh a few years when Tony worked at the Lab as employee, as a carpenter and one time when they visit my -- my place for dinner invite them for dinner and then -- and then they started explaining and telling a true story of what they have seen before of what happened at when -- at Point Hope.

Point Hopers shot a whale, the crew shot a whale and it went down another guy -- another crew shot a whale not knowing it was a wounded or -- or -- or not.

Cause sometimes kinda hard to tell in between the two whether the animal had been shot before or -- or -- or not. Well anyway, the second crew that shot this whale happened to kill him.

And then -- and then the animal died and killed and they put the rope on it, tie it to the shore ice and remove the flipper -- both flipper from the animal.

Cut the flipper on the ice and the -- and the people start to squabble about the animal. Hey -- that's my whale. Another guy say that's my whale you are not the guy that first put the bomb in it. I was the first guy that put the bomb. And the people start to fight about it -- squabble about it.

After the animal has been dead for quite some time -- I don't know how long -- but it takes a while to remove the flipper as you -- as we all know.

Takes a while. And -- and the people fight about it -- fight about it -- pretty soon it start to slowly get the shake of the body when the people weren't paying attention -- fighting each other, you know?

And pretty soon, first thing they knew that animal disappeared. Break the rope and go'ed. They saw him, he took off.

And the people start to wonder -- what -- why did this animal take off? They start to wonder so they got -- the Point Hopers got the lesson at one time that -- that -- that what they have seen.

So Tony and his wife, they're the ones that personally have seen this happen and told me about it. So I cord -- record this for anybody that is not believing whether there's a creator or -- or the controller or whether are trying to control the animals on earth.

Yeah, back to Cape Halkett. Taaqpak have killed that animal when -- after he spend some time at Barrow and then moved back to Cape Halkett and that's when the -- they kill that whale somewhere in that neighbor -- from 1918 between from 1918 and 1923.

So that's the time that -- that they shot that whale and that they -- they removed the -- the flipper. They got the flipper on the boat and then took it home and -- and so in other words it happened to same thing like Point Hopers did.

Animal disappeared without flipper also. So -- so that's what happened on those two animals. Point Hope and -- and around Pingok and MacIntyre.

Yeah -- speaking about those -- about those fish of what Otis have seen in that hunting trip with Lynn Koganaluk, he -- they have seen the fish swimming in schools. In the big schools. Those Iqalukpik and swimming in towards the -- the -- the shore.

And -- and Otis have using in seine nets and then catch the -- those types of fish before at Pole Island and -- and at the time when he spent time at -- at Milne Point.

Otis and I were chatting about the -- about the King Eiders in the -- in the spring and in the -- in the fall.

In the spring time when king eiders -- eider ducks fly by Point Barrow, Otis -- when Otis was living in the -- in the general area, when he's -- when he's out hunting in -- in the spring, he have seen the ducks fly close to the open lead.

And, in other words the duck -- flocks of ducks flew close by the barrier islands in the -- in the -- in the spring. But coming back in fall, when eiders start to fly back south, few -- few ducks fly by Beechey Point.

Not many. Not many. And at one time Otis and his wife in the spring happened to -- went out hunt on the ice and then have a camp out there.

Otis and I were -- we were chatting about the king eiders at the time when he and his wife were out camping, and anyway they set up the camp along side the -- a piece of -- ice kinda high and -- and then they set up the tent right behind that good piece of i -- piece of ice so he could climb up and then look - look around when days getting longer and then no doubt it's month of May that -- when the king eiders have to fly east.

And then they shot few -- few ducks and then they shot one bear -- polar bear while they were in the camp. The same time when he and his wife was out camping.

Yeah, I chatted with Otis about the whales. the whole coastal line. And speaking about whale bones that were left off and drift -- I mean washed up to the -- to the islands.

Up along the coast -- the coast line always some whale skulls and some whale bones left -- washed up onto the beaches. And all the way up to Canada side.

That -- of what Otis say. And he -- he have -- Otis have heard the story of the people the -- whale hunt had around -- oh somewhere around Mackenzie Island -- Mackenzie River.

That should be in Canada -- from Canada went out on a whale hunt with a boat and the harpooner -- the harpooner throw a harpoon to the whale and then he didn't even scratch the skin of the animal.

So no longer they -- they remove that man from the -- from the harpooning and then somebody takes over real fast and that's how the old-timers do.

They -- when the -- the harpooner he can't get that harpoon into the whale somebody takes over real fast -- one other crew member. So that's what happened to the -- to the -- to the -- to the group that went out to whale hunt.

Yeah, I chat with -- with Otis what -- of what I have seen before in the fall whale season -- hunting season for whale from Barrow which I have seen myself personally.

One season, oh back in 19 -- 1945 or 46 -- either -- I'm sure it was 1945. Back in those days, we happened to go out with a boat and, matter of fact, more than one boat.

People here from Barrow went out hunting and then there was a good -- good section of the grounded ice left -- left over that have the formed piled up in that area. The pressure ridge of what we called.


KEN TOOVAK: North of Point . Approximate maybe oh, ten - twelve miles east northeast of -- of -- from Point. And went out -- went on a whale hunt, ran into this big iceberg, you know?

That was left from -- from the winter pile-up. So we stopped there and get the -- get the bucket of cold water -- fresh water and then that same time we took our binoculars and looked for whales and so we use that for, like climbing up -- look around.

The time when we -- we were out whale -- whale hunting in fall.

RON METZNER: Which crew were you with?

KEN TOOVAK: We were -- I was with To -- David Browers. David Browers' boat. As a matter of fact, I run the boat for Brower -- David Brower.

RON METZNER: I see. Were there -- were there two crews?

KEN TOOVAK: Well -- the -- the crews that went out in the morning -- there was another crew from Brower's and then another crew from either Fred Ipalook's crew and there was another crew I forgot at least four of us total.

RON METZNER: Four -- four boats?

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah. Four boats. When I -- at one time. So later part of the day we -- we went out. We had to do something, we had to work around Browers for that morning and certain thing you know.

And so before we -- we went out hunting that's why we were kinda late take off. So we finally take off from Barrow around three in the afternoon, ran into this iceberg and stop and look and saw a bunch of whales, oh about a couple three miles north of -- from this big piece of ice that were still grounded.

RON METZNER: What kind of motor do you have on the boat? Or was it a sail boat?

KEN TOOVAK: We have inboard -- inboard motor. 35 horse Palmer, six cylinder type. And the -- and the boat length was about -- oh about 28 - 30 feet long.

RON METZNER: Did -- did David Brower run the store then or was Tom Brower --

KEN TOOVAK: David Brower was running the store at the time and then Tom Brower used to have -- used to be living at the Half Moon Three --

RON METZNER: Where's that?

KEN TOOVAK: That's -- oh about sixty miles east of here. Tom Brower used to have a reindeer ranch and then they call that Half Moon Three.


KEN TOOVAK: So in the meantime I -- I work for actually for David Brower and run the boat for him.

RON METZNER: Is David Brower still alive?

KEN TOOVAK: Oh yeah.

RON METZNER: What's he -- what's he doing now?

KEN TOOVAK: Nothing at the moment. Matter of fact he got the -- the last whale caught this spring.

RON METZNER: David Brower?



KEN TOOVAK: So he's still pretty active --

RON METZNER: How old is he?

KEN TOOVAK: Oh, he should be somewhere between 65 and 70. Actually maybe somewhere around maybe 67, 68 maybe I dunno exactly, but maybe somewhere in that neighborhood.

RON METZNER: Is Tom Brower older?

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah, Tom Brower is older.


KEN TOOVAK: So old Tom should be around maybe, either around 70 or early part of 70.


KEN TOOVAK: Yeah, chatting about -- about the grounded ice north of -- of -- from Point Barrow -- from Nuvuk. I ask Otis whether he have seen the grounded ice left over from winter -- winter ice, whether that -- I ask him whether that piece of ice grounded ice and then -- then spend another -- another year.

So actually Otis haven't seen any -- any -- any grounded ice spent another year in the same spot.

RON METZNER: He has not.

KEN TOOVAK: He haven't seen --


KEN TOOVAK: To speak of.


KEN TOOVAK: So in other words, he have the -- the grounded ice early summer and then keep melting and then storm come up and then keep washing and washing and -- and of what Otis say that the piece have ac -- actually just disappear and broken up in pieces and go.

So -- that was a question that I ask. I ask Otis Ahkivgak I have heard that Taaqpak was boating in the -- in the summer months and found this piece of ice with some rocks on it.

They thought they'd -- they'd found the -- an island out there when they saw the -- some geese there. They thought they saw -- they find an island before they really actually finally find out the ice was still moving. So --

When they found this piece of ice some rocks on -- on top of it they -- they got the boat got to this piece of ice and then lower their anchor, I mean lower their step ladder and then walking around.

And this piece of ice was covered oh, most of it was covered with dirt. And in lower sections of the -- the flow ice this piece of ice there were had some rocks on top, in the kinda bit lower section there was some even grass growing.

RON METZNER: Like tundra?

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah. Like tundra.

RON METZNER: Who -- who -- who's telling this story? You or Otis?


RON METZNER: Otis is telling the story?


RON METZNER: About Taaqpak?


RON METZNER: Finding this island?


RON METZNER: Floating with ice?

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah. I ask him, I've -- I have heard about it before --

RON METZNER: Okay and he's --

KEN TOOVAK: So that's why I ask Otis --

RON METZNER: And Otis is telling the details?


RON METZNER: Of this story?

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah. And Otis have seen -- he was with Taaqpak at the time --

RON METZNER: When he found this island?


RON METZNER: This floating ice with --


RON METZNER: -- the dirt on it.

KEN TOOVAK: I didn't ask -- ask Otis what year they found this piece but anyway Otis was along with Taaqpak at the time when they found this piece and then they thought it was a piece of island, and then they lower their -- their -- their sounding -- sounding line and find out that the piece was drifting.

So that's why -- they -- they find -- find out it wasn't a island. So they saw some geese -- Canadian geese -- I don't know how many but they saw some Canadian geese were landing in the swamps and also there were some polar bear tracks.

RON METZNER: On this piece of ice?

KEN TOOVAK: On that piece of ice. And the piece was kinda bit huge in size. I didn't ask him what size but anyway --

RON METZNER: There were ponds?

KEN TOOVAK: According to --

RON METZNER: Little ponds?


RON METZNER: Little -- little ponds that the ducks would land in?

KEN TOOVAK: Yeah. Like what Otis saw it was a good size piece. I don't know how many miles long and how wide -- I never did ask him what size really.

But anyway they -- they ask -- found ice with rocks on top and then grass and growing and then some mud you know -- most part of the island.

I chat with -- with Otis of what I have seen and -- seen before personally myself on hunting -- looking for place for scientist to study for the summer months when I worked at the lab we found a piece of ice which we called Arlis II.

It was like familiar type to what Taaqpak found back in 1961 we found that piece -- piece of ice in month of -- the first part of May.

So it could have been pieces of ice like glacier ice at one time around Banks Island or somewhere in that -- in that neighborhood, maybe.

So -- so I'm making a question to -- to Otis speaking with the old-timers when -- when Otis was kinda bit young, younger generation I mean when he was kinda young and then when he listened to the old-timers kinda old people that chat and talk, speaking about the -- the danger of ice anywhere along the -- this coast line.

This Point Barrow -- Point Barrow area is the most dangerous part by --