Have you heard of the Franklin Expedition? A journey of 2 ships named the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, both sailed across the Atlantic in 1845 led by Sir John Franklin and 129 of his crew in search of a northern passage. The so-called passage was a clearing for a route to go from the Atlantic to the Pacific straight across the top of Canada.
Both ships sadly didn’t make it through the passage. They each got stuck in heavy ice fields, and from there we know not much else. We only know this from local Inuit guides who have told stories about the ships, and those stories have thankfully passed down from generation to generation. In 2007 Canada decided to try to find these ships, and only with the help of the local Inuit did they find them, in the exact spots where the Inuit said they sank.
I find it incredible and fascinating that with storytelling, we know exactly where these ships are. GPS and all other technology didn’t help the Canadian government find the ships, but a detailed story with described locations passed down from Inuit generations did.
The HMS Erebus was found by Parks Canada in 2014, after learning of their whereabouts from the Inuit. Two years later, and 100km away, the HMS Terror was found. Their condition at time of discovery was quite remarkable! The wood planks, boots, ship bell and other artifacts were in superb condition from the arctic cold waters, which naturally preserve things from degrading quickly. You can find more details about the fascinating finds here at the Parks Canada site.
Here we are in 2019 and sadly the sea swells are so bad that the wrecks are in worse shape, and it is escalating, bringing artifact rescue efforts to a near standstill. We only just found these 2 ships a few years ago, and now we are almost losing them all over again. Thankfully, it looks like the artifacts are going to be saved, and displayed by the Inuit and Parks Canada jointly. This will be one trip that I shall add to my bucket list.