Norwegian hypocrisy exposed.
For the high and mighty faux humanitarian Norwegian government, ancient Norwegian tradition of hunting whale is sacrosanct, Jewish kosher slaughter and circumcision, er, eh, well…..that is too traumatic to allow.
Only, this day it was not going to plan. Three minutes had passed since the whale had been harpooned. For most of that time, it had been under the surface.
Suddenly it lurched into view, revealing a deep gash in its back where the harpoon had passed right through.
Only now did I realise that it was still alive and trying to swim. Fred grabbed the rifle just as the whale dived again. The boat was tense.
Two long minutes went by before the whale reappeared and Fred could finish the job.
He turned to me grim-faced. “I want you to know, it almost never happens like this,” he said.
The captain, Jan, took the blame – saying he misfired and was sorry it had happened. But these are practical men.
“This can happen in all kinds of hunting,” he told me. “If you shoot an elk, it might run into the forest and you don’t manage to kill it until the next day.”
(Warning: This piece contains descriptions and pictures which some readers may find upsetting).
Whale hunters tend to shy away from publicity because of the controversy surrounding their profession. But the crew of the Jan Bjorn in Norway – a country whose fishermen kill around 500 minke whales a year for commercial purposes – agreed to let us join them on a hunting trip.
Boom! The shock of the cannon judders through the old boat.
It’s a hit.
The minke is motionless maybe 30 yards away, the rope attached to the harpoon trailing in the water. The skipper, Jan, strains his small frame to haul in the catch.
It does not give an inch. So Fred lends his considerable bulk to the task. He turns to me with a flicker of a grin.
“Now the work begins,” he says.