North West Passage – Early History

The HMS Erebus from the ill fated Franklin Expedition of 1845
HMS Erebus trapped in Ice

There is nothing more exciting than pushing the frontiers going where no man has gone before. Ok I know that’s a Star Trek reference but its fits the story of the search for the North west passage. This is the passage that would lead sailors to a route from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the arctic archipelago that is now my home of Canada,

As early as the late 15th century explorers tried to discover a shorter route to the Pacific and the wealth of the East, the exotic Orient.  What an exciting time that must have been and dangerous! Many of the famous mariners of history have attempted to discover this mysterious and often consider fanciful passage. A book I bought Arctic Explorers by Frances Hern gives some great descriptions of the adventures of these men. Driven by economy to find a safer passage for their ships these men where adventurers and pirates! It is no wonder there stories held me mesmerised but what I had not realized until starting this blog how true some of them where.  Men mutinied and ships disappeared, mysteries abounded.  Last year one of the mysteries was resolved. In 1845 the Franklin expedition set sail, two ships the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus  and after being sited by whalers in  Lancaster Sound they were lost for 170 years only to be found last year by  Canadian scientific team. Unfortunately the find has been a little overshadowed by the politicizing of whom the North west passage belongs to.


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