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News from the Northwest Passage: Wreck of HMS Investigator found

July 30, 2010

The wreck of the Investigator, one of the many ships sent in search of the fate of Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition , has been located beneath the cold waters of Mercy Bay. When Franklin failed to return or send word back to England by the beginning of 1848, a series of search expeditions was dispatched over the course of a decade, to learn his fate. The Investigator was one of several sent around Cape Horn then north through Bering Strait to try the still undiscovered Northwest Passage from the west.

The ship coasted hundreds of miles of previously uncharted shores, becoming eventually trapped in the ice of Mercy Bay on the northern coast of Banks Island. Simultaneous expeditions had been sent from the opposite direction through Barrow Strait, and were anchored only one hundred seventy miles to the east at Dealy Island. In the end, Captain McClure and his men, after enduring three winters trapped in the ice, left their ship and walked to safety, accomplishing the last few miles of the passage on foot, the first men ever to do so. Their ship, abandoned to its fate, is known to have survived another few winters before succumbing to the ice and sinking to the bottom of the Bay, where its remains were recently found using 21st century exploration tools. The story of the search for the Northwest Passage, in all its heroic and tragic glory, is well told in Pierre Berton’s book “The Arctic Grail.”

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for recent news links on this remarkable story.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 21, 2012 3:21 pm

    It was a pleasure 2 c U work with the group. U r the BEST.
    C U nxt mon.

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