Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Search For Franklin

You cannot be a fan of all things arctic without wondering what happened to Sir John Franklin and his two ships, the Erebus and the Terror. Despite years of searching, very little in the way of remains have ever been found which is odd considering both ships contained locomotive steam engines which surely would show up on some kind of sensor and the location where they were last known to be is recorded in the only document found.

This past summer, yet another group, Parks Canada, went looking for the ships, but again, to no avail. They did find a ship however! This one was a bit easier to locate as detailed records were kept locating where it had been abandoned in 1854 by
Captain Robert McClure and his 66-man crew. The ship was the HMS Investigator. The ship had been locked in ice after wintering twice in a dead end bay finally forcing McClure and his crew to abandon the ship and leave behind a cache of equipment and provisions on the shore. They made it to safety eventually and returned to England bearing the sad news that Franklin remained lost.

This summer's search has produced some remarkable photos of the Investigator as she lies upright on the bottom of the shallow bay where she was abandoned years ago. As the area is now part of Aulavik National Park, one might assume that kayaking trips will soon be organized to visit the wreck and go diving on her... Well, one can dream, at least!

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