January 2, 1920
Sometimes Inuit hunters would get trapped on ice floes over the entire winter, and would catch seals and then process the intestines into strands of beads full of snow to melt it with their body heat for drinking water.
The Lore of St Lawrence Island - Volume 2
Sometimes the Inuit hunters on St. Lawrence Island would be on an ice floe that breaks off the island and drifts through the ocean. This is a story about how they survived.
If the current carries them out pretty far, it will carry them around to the north side of the island. But if they drifted close in, the current would carry them south and away from the island. This is how they spent the winter. When the wind would die down, the current would take them swiftly north. They could see the Gambell mountain grow bigger, but when the north wind came up, they would see the mountain shrink again.
By the time the days began to get longer [in early March], they lost hope of getting back to the island. Mount Ayvikan [on the southwest part of the island] is the last mountain which can be seen. By this time, they had lost sight of that too. Now they could see nothing but the sea around them. They lived on a large ice floe. I think they made a shelter somewhere on it. When the wind died down, ice would form around the floe. The men would hunt for seals on this new-formed ice. In the beginning they had only one problem: no water.
The men caught a walrus or a bearded seal. They made containers from the processed intestines and filled them with snow so that their body heat could melt it. They then looped the intestines like strands of beads around their bodies between their inner and outer parkas. Our forefathers knew what they were doing. Their body heat melted the snow. This is how the men solved their water problem.