Walking through the front door I noticed a rifle propped in the corner next to a broom which was next to the ironing board. It was Paulus Rosing’s favourite rifle, the one he shoots whales with.
With the language barrier virtually set in stone, we both mimed a whale hunt to make sure we were on the same page. He aimed the rifle while I steered a small fishing boat amid a pod of imaginary whales. I was suitably impressed. Up to this point, besides the nightmare that takes place each year in the Faroes, the whale hunts I know are done from large whaling ships with exploding harpoons.
He slipped a cartridge into the breach and slammed the bolt home. It was 10 am and I had just finished my Greenlandic morning ritual of a bowl of 3 Minute Oats chased with a handful of Marie biscuits and two cups of coffee. The men gathered in the small smoke-filled suffocating house were on their 2nd possibly 3rd crate of beers. I thought this is surely how domestic gun accidents happen. Another pull on the bolt and the round popped out. He laughed wildly showing me the empty barrel. My neck muscles relaxed.
He took me down to the unheated frozen basement where the remains of a Pilot Whale hung from a nylon rope off a cross beam. I inwardly winced at the sight of what was left of the beautiful silky black skin I know so well. If I was going to make a success of this trip, l was going to have to toughen up.