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Arctic Adventure – Orange County Register

Before I learn to “throat sing” with indigenous women — and before I encounter 500-year-old scarily human-like mummies — our rubber Zodiac putters up to an isolated hamlet in wildly vast Greenland where we are ceremoniously greeted by a female Inuit villager with a paint-tattooed face. She wears seal fur-trimmed britches, ritualistically beats a caribou-hide drum, and asks me, “What is your animal name?” Hers, she says, is “Whale.”
We’re in the tiny settlement of Kangaamiut, a picturesque hillside of Crayola-bright cottages and 340 hardy souls who largely survive in the forbidding Arctic by the Inuit tradition of hunting and fishing. On the rocky shore, two locals gorily “flense” a freshly shot ring seal, stripping its skin with a sharp knife, then removing bloody organs and piling innards alongside crimson pools of sea water. Ugh. I prefer my seals alive and frolicking. But in this harsh environment, the dead pinniped will provide dinner and clothes for families and helps explain how this resilient aboriginal culture has been able to exist for over 4,000 years.
Along with 170 equally curious shipmates, I experience the untamed Arctic on a 13-day Adventure Canada expedition cruise. There is…

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