Friday, November 11, 2005


Eskimos Try New Explosive in Whale Kill

`A new explosive has begun to replace 19th century black powder as Alaska Natives seek more humane weaponry in the traditional hunt for bowhead whales.

“It’s a lot safer,” said Eugene Brower, a Barrow whaling captain who chairs the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission’s weapons improvement program.

Brower trains Native whaling captains to handle a harpoon-launched grenade loaded with penthrite, a World War I-era explosive used in demolition.

“They love it,” Brower said of the whaling captains. “It’s four times the strength of black powder. With black powder, the meat has a gas taste.”‘

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