News Home Cruising Australia Cruising USA Cruising Canada Boats for Sale Sail-World Racing Photo Gallery FishingBoating
Photo Gallery FishingBoating Video Gallery Newsletters : Cornell turns back from the North West Passage
Cornell turns back from the North West Passage

'Sailors’graves on Beechy Island'    Cornell Sailing Events

Our stop at Beechey Island was tinged with sadness, not only because of the tragic events of all those years ago, but also by the decision to abandon our attempt to transit the Northwest Passage this summer.

With the ice situation showing little improvement, even if a late transit may become possible, we could face the prospect of being unable to reach the Pacific before the seas started to ice up again.

In such an eventuality the only solution would be to overwinter somewhere in Arctic Canada or Alaska, something that I was not prepared to do. It was therefore decided to turn around and sail back to Europe while the weather conditions in the Northern Atlantic are still favourable for our 2700 miles passage home.

The first response to my decision came from my son Ivan. I quote his words here, as they reflect exactly my own feelings: 'Seeing as there seems to be a 50-50 chance that the Northwest Passage won’t open this year, it may be for the best to turn back.

This is something my cycling has taught me about being audacious: it’s better to have tried and possibly failed than not to try at all!'

Located at the western end of Lancaster Sound, Beechey Island is the site where the ill-fated expedition led by Sir John Franklin, spent their first Arctic winter in 1845-46. Two well-equipped ships, Terror and Erebus, had left London in May 1845, with the task of completing the charting of the Northwest Passage, and thus establishing beyond any doubt the existence of this waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Neither the ships nor any of the 129 men were ever seen again.

In the following years, several search expeditions were mounted and eventually their tragic fate became known. With their ships beset by ice, the crews were forced to abandon them and try to save themselves by walking overland. Only a few managed to make it to the mainland, where they all perished.

Over the years there has been much speculation as to the real reason how such a well-prepared expedition could have come to such an unexpected end. It was only in the early 1980s that it was finally proven that the
high content of lead in the human remains that had been analysed, would have caused severe lead poisoning. Combined with scurvy, the effects had eventually led to their deaths.

On the shore of Beechey Island are the graves of the men who had died during that first winter, as well as several memorials dedicated to the members of this tragic expedition. For sailors attempting a transit of the Northwest Passage, the site is a place of pilgrimage, and, having anchored Aventura in Terror and Erebus Bay, we made our way ashore to pay our respects.

Franklin memorial - Beechey Island -  Cornell Sailing Events  

by Jimmy Cornell


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

2:15 PM Sun 17 Aug 2014GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World

The Galley Guys take on the Vancouver International Boat Show by Greg Nicoll with Frank Leffelaar and Friends,

Are you ready to enter that marina? by Captain John Jamieson, Florida

Remember to properly dispose of obsolete distress beacons by Australian Maritime Safety Authority,

World ARC fleet bids farewell to Bali by World Cruising Club,

World ARC crews in Bali by World Cruising Club,

Could your sailing navigation use a tune-up? by Captain John Jamieson, Florida

The Boat Cookbook by BoatBooks,

World ARC fleet now arriving in Bali by World Cruising Club,

An offer a Galley Guy cannot refuse
Dinghy Safety - More to think about
World ARC fleet to enter Indian Ocean for the first time
What can you do to prevent electrocution and ESD?
Pack this sailing gear for 'hands-free' lighting
Salty Dawg Rally Seminar Series planned October 8 in Annapolis
Europe tightens up on skippers competency certification
World ARC fleet departs Darwin under full sail
NOAA expedition discovers ship’s timepiece silent for nearly 200 years
Blue Planet Odyssey - Northwest Passage gate opens
A Cruising Guide to the Dominican Republic 6.0 now available
BNS Leopold I to commence counter-piracy operations
Africa Europe Challenge introduces 'Spectator's Package'
Wanted youth circumnavigators on a 'Voyage of Imagination'
Niagara-on-the-Lake, a popular cruising destination in Canada
The crowd-pleasing comforts of catamaran cruising
Death by Dinghy
'Sailing Stones' of Death Valley seen in action for the first time
Coast Guard searching for two boaters near St. Petersburg
20 coral species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act
Shanghai to San Francisco in under 2 hours via supersonic sub   
PSP Southampton Boat Show 2014 - 2 for £24 ticket offer ends soon   
A case of crossed wires? A shocking situation!   
How amazingly awe-inspiring the Arctic really is   
New atlas provides thorough audit of marine life in the Southern Ocean   
European Odyssey boats arrive in Lanzarote + Video   
Multiagency rescue at Dunraven Bay + Video   
Canal Boating in the Alsace with the Galley Guys   
World ARC fleet arrives in Darwin   
Dangers of the Dinghy trip back to your boat   
European Odyssey visits Porto   
Timeless Tonga - Charter sailing in a Polynesian paradise *Feature   
A fine conclusion to the ARC Baltic 2014   
Where in the world are our strongest corals?   
Baltic 4 Nations fleet arrive into Stralsund City Marina   
Huff of Arklow nearing completion, expected on the water next month   
Incredible efforts to save yacht from being lost at sea   
ARC Baltic fleet visit six countries and six capitals in six weeks   
Helen Island, Palau -a beautiful and unique place   
Bart's Bash: Over 2300 entered from 588 yacht clubs - Join here   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph, contact the photographer directly.
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT