Monday, June 28, 2010

Expanded 2010 search for Arctic Ships

Thanks to Kenn Harper (who sent me a link to the story) and Randy Boswell, whose reporting on this issue has always been a great source of updates on the Franklin search, I can report that Parks Canada -- in addition to the continued search for the "Erebus" and "Terror" under the direction of Robert Grenier -- is also planning a summer search for the remains of Robert McClure's HMS Investigator in Mercy Bay.

This story, reported via the CanWest news service, and available at the site of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, indicates that Marc-Andre Bernier, who like Grenier is an underwater archaeologist with Parks Canada, is hoping to use side-scan sonar to locate the remains of the Investigator in Mercy Bay; there will also be archaeological excavations along the bay's edge, near the site where McClure cached supplies in 1853.

The project will not, according to Bernier, have any impact upon the search for Franklin's ships, which is still planned for "late August." Although the article doesn't say so, I expect that this is because the search for McClure's ship will be conducted from atop the bay ice, drilling and dropping sonar booms, whereas the Franklin search is apparently still counting on open water to conduct its search from aboard a research vessel.

Certainly, it would be of great value to be able to get some visual images of the Investigator, if for no other reason to ascertain the state of the copper sheathing of its hull. This sheathing had already been significantly damaged by the ice before abandonment (McClure reported that it was hanging in ribbons from the sides), but also because there was said to have been significant recovery of this copper by the Inuit. If indeed a substantial proportion of the copper is missing, this would confirm that Inuit did come into possession of this prized resource, and might correlate with the finds of copper in the region, some pieces of which bore the "broad arrow" of the Royal Navy. I'll certainly pass along anything further I can learn about this exciting development.

1 comment:

  1. My late Grandfather (George Washington Porter) RIP 1984. Years before he passed away told my uncle Chester Porter that about 50 years ago now buried records belonging to Sir John Franklin whom never made the passage.

    We have a planned excavation to take place between mid Aug to Sept/2010.
    Russell Potter.. You spoke with me ,regarding this matter. Will, We do have an excavation set up this summer.
    Want more.. you may know Doug Stenton, Garnier.. I've told them too about this.. I can be reached at 867-360-6720 after working hours,, or at 867-360-6046 ask for Andrew Porter