Monday, October 30, 2017

The Northwest Passage 170 years later

Image from National Geographic

In 2009, Brian Payton published a gripping true story based on British naval records that hadn't been opened for a century and a half.
The Ice Passage, a story of ambition, disaster and endurance in the Arctic wilderness begins in 1845, when the HMS Investigator left England, crossed the Atlantic, sailed around Cape Horn, stopped in Hawaii for supplies, and continued north into the elusive Arctic corridor called The Northwest Passage.

The HMS Investigator crew was tasked with learning the fate of the Franklin expedition. As seen above, icy seas froze the ship in place, holding it at an angle for months. This grueling expedition led to no trace of Franklin's ships. Instead, the crew had to abandon their own and be rescued by another. The fate of Franklin was unknown until the 21st century.

Recently, both Franklin's ships were found off Nunavut. The HMS Investigator was found in 2010 in ice-free waters off Banks Island, NT.

This year, during The C3 Expedition, a Canada 150 Signature Project, the Polar Prince (above right) made the voyage from the Atlantic to Pacific via the open water of the Northwest Passage in just 150 days between June and October. Its mission was to inspire a deeper understanding of Canada's land, peoples and nation.

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