Radstock Bay and Beechey Island
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 22 Aug 2022

Radstock Bay and Beechey Island, 8/22/2022, National Geographic Endurance

  • Aboard the National Geographic Endurance
  • Arctic

We are through the Northwest Passage! At least, we are through the most technical, challenging, and mysterious part of it that eluded so many explorers for so long. It is in the footsteps of those explorers that we follow today. We visited Caswell Tower, a remarkable outcropping of stone that hosts a number of archeological sites dating back to the Thule people, the original people of this land. Once back on board, we left Radstock Bay. We had an amazing encounter as we watched a group of beluga whales swim through the shallows right next to a polar bear. The bear was so excited and eager to catch one but could not commit to the windy waves, and the pod of perhaps fifty whales swam by.

In the afternoon, we followed in the footsteps of a later group of people. The famous Franklin Expedition wintered on Beechey Island in 1845. Four members of the party died that winter and are buried in the talus below the permafrost. The Franklin Expedition disappeared into the Arctic after that winter and the ships, as well as other remains, were only found recently. Many rescue parties were organized, mostly thanks to Lady Franklin. For our after-dinner activity, we went ashore to visit a house constructed near the Beechy overwintering site by the Belcher Party, in the hopes that Franklin would return to the area and be saved by it. Alas, we know it was not to be.

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