Hvalreki á Skaga - Stranded Whale

Hvalreki á Skaga, Sperm whale, Búrhvalur (in Icelandic)

This is a video of a sperm whale stranded on the Skaga shore. It has been seen floating by fishermen a few days before being stranded and probably died of natural causes. If today no one will use the whale, it was different in ancient times when Icelanders had to make use of all possible natural resources. From the time of the settlement in the 9th century until the 19th century a stranded whale was a welcome gift. In Icelandic, the word Hvalreki (whale- washed- ashore) has the same meaning as windfall in English. The whale provided both food and useful whalebone. The carcass of a stranded whale was divided among the local people according to strict rules. Commercial whaling commenced in Iceland in the late 19th century, when Norwegians established whaling stations in the West and East Fjords.

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