Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Summer of Franklin?

Not quite - still no Erebus, still no Terror and still no new documents - but what a summer it was for Franklin-ophiles.

  • The discovery of HMS Investigator, as well documented by Professor Potter.

  • The publication of the first biography of James Fitzjames by William Battersby, which often reads like a great detective novel it has so many revelations about the man and his history. It is available here in Canada - go buy and enjoy it - and we will have the pleasure and the privilege of a visit by William next week for the official Canadian launch.

  • Though ultimately unsuccessful, Parks Canada did follow through with a search for the two ships.

  • The opening of a cairn alleged to hold Franklin documents, but didn't, and was supposed to have held Amundson documents, but didn't. Ken McGoogan's detective work solved the puzzle for us.

  • Then there was the very interesting and curious northwest passage of Bear Grylls and the discovery of a possible last resting place of a number of survivors (see photos below).

  • I'm sure there is more. Please add in the comments.

    What was interesting to observe was the growing interest in, and generally raised level of knowledge of, the Franklin Expedition in Canada as well as England. People without any knowledge of who Captain McClure was or what he was doing up in Mercy Bay were quite rivetted by the find. The archeological finds on land were equally important.

    But the one that has me the most on tenterhooks is the Grylls find. Grylls travelled the northwest passage via Rae Strait on a Shockwave Zodiac Hurricane Mach11 is the RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) with four outboard motors in 13 days! The entire expedition is described on its own website with amazing photos photos. I knew nothing about this trip until William Battersby blogged about it. Now this week, CNN even had a news broadcast on the expedition.

    Where it gets interesting to followers of Franklin started with a somewhat oblique description of a landing a tiny island

    This photo appears to be from the island they discovered:

    From the CNN clip, this photo appears to also be from the island they discovered: