• Found!

    franklinSonarFound!  One of the ships of the ill-starred Franklin Expedition has been located, nearly 170 years after she set sail from England in search of the Northwest Passage, and about 167 years after the last of her crew perished miserably in the unforgiving Arctic.  After literally dozens of search missions, starting in 1848—about the time that starvation, cold, scurvy, and probably a soupcon of lead poisoning finished off the men of the Erebus and Terror—a joint effort headed by Parks Canada has at last spotted the wreck in about the place the Inuit always said she sank.  Kudos, then, to Parks Canada, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the Arctic Research Foundation, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Government of Nunavut, and the Inuit as well.

    Painful as it is to share any interest whatsoever with the science-muzzling Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Franklin Expedition has always fascinated me.  What a story.  Hubris and failure.  Cannibalism and the crushing Arctic cold.  The tragic strew of archaeological remains along the west and south coasts of King William Island, the ship’s boat filled with bones and bizarre choices, the patchy but entirely plausible evidence from the Inuit.  As a junkie for historical mysteries, I have to say: this is one of the big ones, right up there with George Mallory’s assault on Everest, and the fate of Percy Fawcett.  And now that the wreck has been found, I’m looking forward to seeing what details can be filled in.

    Here, in celebration, is Stan Rogers and his classic, Northwest Passage, one of Canada’s unofficial national anthems.

    Last stand at Starvation Cove
    Last stand at Starvation Cove



    Category: FeaturedSkepticism & Science

    Article by: Rebecca Bradley