From Harpooner to Whaling Captain (Eugene Brower)

Video Shot in: 2009

Eugene Brower of Utqiaġvik, Alaska, discusses his role as a whaler and the responsibilities he took on when his father fell ill. He talks about being a half owner in his family’s whaling crew from the age of 27. Taking on a crew at a young age, Eugene learned how to select the campsite, determine the placement of the boats on the ice, and assess the ice conditions. He reflects on the challenges of interpreting ice formations, pressure ridges, currents, and the impact on the ice of winds from different directions. Eugene acknowledges that he made a few mistakes initially but managed to survive and learn from those experiences. He mentions their preparations for the upcoming whaling season. He notes that the crew size varies from 12 to 16 members, depending on the year and the level of success in their whaling activities. Eugene emphasizes that a successful season leads to a larger crew over time.