The story of Arctic exploration is one of the most interesting and shocking pieces of history I have ever read. The Arctic was mapped with stories of tragedy and triumph. Thousands of men laid down their lives in search of the frozen unknown. An impenetrable ice fortress, the Arctic has always posed a formidable challenge to all explorers who have sought to discover its secrets.
The Arctic took over 300 long years to map. The above video helps to illustrate this long process of discovery in an artistic manner but behind each of those voyages are harrowing stories that deserve careful examination.
In reading about the discovery of the Arctic two trips in particular are of interest to our expedition and those are of Parry in 1819-1820, where his ship made it across most of the Arctic from East to West but was stopped by heavy ice before accomplishing the feat and McClure’s voyage of 1850-1854 which attempted a West to East route but was halted by the same ice that blocked Parry from success some 30 years earlier.
This passage which blocked these explorers from accomplishing a Northern passage through the Arctic in the 1800’s and still to this day remains clogged with ice, is one part of the new Northern route we endeavour to sail this summer. While not battling with ice to achieve this route we hope to visit some of the bays where famous Arctic explorers like Franklin, Parry, Mc Clure, Svendrup and Amundsen wintered to understand what these men experienced hundreds of years ago and how these areas have changed since then.
If you are interested in learning more I suggest reading TO THE ARCTIC! by Jeannette Mirsky first published in 1934 this remains one of the most well written and entertaining accounts of Arctic exploration.