On Admiralty orders, the expedition sailed to one of the most treacherous, ice-choked corners of the far north. By September , both vessels were imprisoned in sea ice northwest of King William Island. They remained so for at least a year and a half of brutal polar cold. Survivors set out on foot but were never heard from again.
Archaeologists hope the sunken ships, located in and , will yield answers. By April , 24 men were dead, including Franklin himself. The rest had abandoned the ships. More than a half century later, in , Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen would be credited as the first to navigate the treacherous Northwest Passage. They found deserted campsites, the bones of dead men, and hundreds of mementos, from fragments of cotton shirts to silver dessert spoons. Inuit hunters recalled seeing starving crewmen dragging heavy sledges along the ice, and later finding evidence of cannibalism.
The British public was reluctant to believe it, and the final days of the Franklin expedition remained the subject of enduring fascination and mythmaking. Then, in , Erebus was discovered in relatively shallow water south of King William Island, almost exactly where historical Inuit testimony had placed it. Two years later, Terror was located at the bottom of a large bay after Inuit Canadian Ranger Sammy Kogvik led researchers to the area.
A second research team, supported by the government of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, is now sifting through other important clues found on land. Led by Douglas Stenton, an archaeologist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, these scientists are mapping the sites where Franklin crew members pitched tents, downed rations, and huddled beneath blankets and bearskins. On a cold, blustery day in the Arctic hamlet of Gjoa Haven, Kogvik recalls the joy of seeing Terror appear for the first time on a sonar screen. Like most Inuit in the region, Kogvik had heard stories about the lost expedition.
He also had one of his own. While out fishing with a friend along the west coast of King William Island, he had once seen a big wooden pole sticking above the water. So in September , when Kogvik was working with a team from the Arctic Research Foundation , a Canadian nonprofit, on another scientific project in the immediate area, they decided on the spur of the moment to check out the place.
After hours of searching the seafloor with side-scan sonar, Kogvik and his colleagues found Terror, about 80 feet underwater. Today Parks Canada archaeologists are planning to excavate both Franklin ships, but Erebus is their priority. Harsh Arctic conditions now threaten the vessel. Sea ice has scoured the stern and crushed the area where Franklin had his cabin, entombing or scattering its artifacts.
See icebergs up close and look out for the incredible wildlife. Niagara Falls Known in the past as the premiere Honeymoon destination, this geological wonder is not only one of most popular tourist attractions in the state of New York, but also functions as one of the major power providers to the state itself. By Dennis Murphy. The entire route was ice-free for the first time in recorded history in the summer of US diplomat thought it was 'crazy' to withhold Ukraine aid: texts. In , two gray whales—native to the Pacific Ocean—were spotted in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in more than years.
More haunting still are the conditions aboard Terror. Windows and hatches, mostly unbroken, still seal the contents of the cabins. Studies and excavations at the two wreck sites are expected to take years, and archaeologists hope to settle a long-standing controversy. But in the s, David Woodman, a retired mariner and history writer based in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, analyzed the reports of Inuit witnesses.
Instead many returned to the ships after Crozier wrote his note, and managed to sail farther south. When the two vessels finally sank, the castaways survived on salvaged provisions and occasional hunted game, until the last man died in the early s. But the accounts given by some 30 Inuit witnesses contained many ambiguities and contradictions, in part because of translation problems.
So the Parks Canada team hopes to recover written records from the shipwrecks, such as logs or personal journals, to help reveal what went wrong with the expedition.
In Britain, families of the dead men were left to wonder about their sons and husbands and how exactly they met their end—questions that linger among many descendants today. And some relief may be in sight. Stenton and his team have taken samples from skeletal remains and sent them to Lakehead University in Ontario.
Geneticists there successfully extracted DNA from the remains of 26 crew members. Now Stenton is gathering DNA samples from living descendants. But do not be fooled by thinking that this voyage is all about the ice; think crystal fjords and glaciers, Inuit villages and a wealth of diverse wildlife sightings. Watch our video testimonials from both a guest and Expedition Leader point of view to really understand what it is like to travel these icy routes.
If you are looking for a trip that is both remote and remarkable, these crossings could well be it.
The Northwest Passage (NWP) is, from the European and northern Atlantic point of view, the sea route to the Pacific Ocean through the Arctic Ocean, along the. Arctic Passage is the U.S. title of a two-hour TV documentary on the Arctic explorers Sir John Franklin and Roald Amundsen, co-produced by ITN Factual in the.
Including luxury. Intense weather. Mile upon mile of sea ice. Completely remote.
If that sounds like your ideal adventure, then read on. The Arctic Ocean has long held pioneers and explorers captive.
From Captain John Franklin in the 19th century right up to modern explorers today, the Arctic Circle and East Siberian Sea are truly the final frontiers. And now it is your time to join the ranks of the elite traveller. Whether you chose to travel the Northeast or Northwest Passage, this is your chance to experience some of expedition cruising at its very best.
Having literally broken the ice in with our pioneering Northeast Passage voyage, we are at it again in with our Northwest Passage adventure. Travel on our ice-strengthened small ships accompanied by an industry-leading Expedition Team and possibly polar bears, musk oxen, seals, narwhals and walrus, and make this year the year that you truly discover the authentic beauty of the High Arctic.
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