The middle months of this year were spent with Quark Expeditions on three truly epic expeditions.
The first was Conrad’s eighth excursion to the North Pole on board the Russian nuclear icebreaker “Fifty Years of Victory” where he was lucky enough to get up on the helicopter a number of times for some staggering footage of the monster ship crushing two meter thick ice.
The expedition team also managed to do some stunning landings, at Chomp Island and even a super rare landing at the northern-most tip of Europe, Cape Fligely.
What was to be a major trip for this year was to join the M/V Sea Adventurer on two amazing trips. One started in Reykjavik and ended in Kangulusuak, Greenland, and the biggie was to be from there up the west coast of Greenland and then across Baffin Bay and to do the famed North West Passage, he of the ill-fated Sir John Franklin fame.
This incredible story I know all the way back from Polar Bear – Churchill days. It is such a legendary maritime story, full of heartbreak, intrigue, starvation, and perhaps even cannibalism. The Erebus and Terror were sent by Queen Victoria in 1845 to finally find the famed North West Passage – a link over the arctic between Europe and Asia. Countless attempts had failed previously, lives had been lost and this was to be the pinnacle of English heroic discovery. It was not. The ships sailed forth and were never seen again.
Their fate unknown, the mystery of the ships a clouded mirage of arctic spoken tales from the Inuit, who for years later, told of the desperate Europeans trying to head southwards and onto rescue. All men were lost, and it has been one of the greatest mysteries of our age. Dozens of rescue ships were sent after the ships’ disappearance, and tiny little hints were found of what happened to the poor, unfortunate sailors. Nothing of substance was found. Until September 2014.
Parks Canada found the wreck of the Erebus, in only 12 metres of water! So our ship the Sea Adventurer sailed the same waters that the Erebus and terror sailed 160 years previously! Of course with a lot more safety gear, charts and radar.
It was a truly epic voyage, loads of discoveries, landings, hikes on the spectacular tundra, Hudson Bay Company Posts and to boot, a Zodiac Cruise with 150 belugas who came past our craft. Conrad took a basic video and it can be viewed below, what a sighting!