Clyde River hunters catch first bowhead whale in a century

Residents in the community of Clyde River, Nunavut, caught their first bowhead over the weekend, after an exciting and, sometimes dangerous, hunt.

Clyde River, Nunavut, residents are celebrating a successful bowhead whale hunt, after catching their first in recent memory during the long weekend.

Regeelee Piungituk was one of many who watched the hunt from a distance. She says the pregnant female bowhead was about 16 metres long.

David Iqarialuk, the captain of the eight-person hunting team, says the bowhead was caught about 16km south of the hamlet. 

But the catch wasn't the only exciting part of the hunt.

The whale didn't put up much of a fight, says Iqarialuk, but there was a dangerous encounter. 

"When they struck the whale, the whale flipped its tail and hit the boat. the hunters were in mid air, luckily they all landed back in the canoe," Piungituk said.

She says the harpooners' boat is now completely destroyed and unusable.

Piugituk says the four hunters on the boat are lucky as they managed to make it to land after the incident.

"They were picked up by the other hunting party and started again," said Iqarialuk in Inuktitut. "You could hear a lot of yelling at that point."

The hunters are expected to arrive in Clyde River Tuesday. The community has around 900 residents and is on the northeastern coast of Baffin Island about 650 kilometres north of Iqaluit.

A limited hunt is now an annual tradition in Nunavut with meat and muktuk from the whales being shared among numerous communities.