Saturday 26th August 2023

Today at 09:00 we were at 70N 120W heading towards Victoria Island and Ulukhaktok on Prince Albert Sound and the west coast of the island. Formerly known as Holman Island, the rocky island offshore is the site of a Hudson’s Bay Company centre. In 1944 Larsen reached here on his transit to Vancouver via the Melville Sound to the north and west of the island, becoming the first to do so via this route.

In August 1848, a Franklin search party calculated that if his expedition had ventured this way as per instructions then they were probably trapped by ice between Victoria Island and Banks Island immediately west of our current position.

This was a region with plenty of caribou and wildfowl, except in winter. Essentially the search parties lost hope because they thought Franklin was somewhere in this region during a winter.

Unfortunately, the captain reported that we have a Covid incident and consequently the Inuit community have declined us a landing. Today we are well into the NWP and following the route from the Pacific taken by Captain Richard Collinson in 1851 – 55 in the search for Franklin. Following an unsuccessful search, he reflected that, “had he (Collinson) possessed the means of understanding the natives in Cambridge Bay we may have gone further east than Victoria Island”. 50 years later Amundsen praised Collinson’s achievements in the ice-strewn waters and his wintering in Cambridge Bay. Collinson used sledges from here and apparently reached, without knowing it, 60km from the lost Franklin ships. It is accepted that Collinson did show that a passage through the NWP was likely though he didn’t complete it.

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