After an eventful four days we have now reached one of our primary objectives, Sheriff’s Harbour.
On Friday prior to our departure from Thom Bay Mission, we had an amazing significant find of three ‘ice anchors’ from the Victory, weighing 20/30 and 40lbs respectively.
These ‘S’ shaped anchors were identified from a copy of a picture dating back to the original Ross expedition, clearly showing stores being unloaded from the ship on the Boothia peninsular. Mr Alookee was also able to confirm our findings as that of the Victory.
On the same day we made a big lead through the ice which had previously barred our progress from the mission and we carefully navigated our way along the South coast of Thom Bay.
As we landed ashore we were on high alert as we could clearly see recent polar bear tracks in the sand.
On Saturday we progressed further along the coast, the ice being a lot more challenging and dramatic to negotiate through. The massive icebergs being no match for the deft ‘elephant like’ touch of our two coxswains Dom and Craig.
We found a beach to land at on the Southern Cape of Thom Bay and again were confronted with fresh polar bear tracks in the sand.
Whilst setting up camp, the other adversary out here, the ‘sea ice’ encased our boats.
We camped a little way off shore for protection from wandering bears and maintained our two on sentry routine.
Sunday saw no change in the sea ice and a low weather front brought a constant freezing rain coupled with high winds saw the temperature down to -10C, making the team happily reminice of better days on Dartmoor.
By Monday morning a land option to Sheriffs harbour was the only viable alternative.
We cached the boats and supplies a short portage inland, in an attempt to protect the equipment from destructive wandering bears. After lunch our group ‘yomped’ to the hills overlooking Lord Mayors Bay, where we established our tenth camp.
We then descended to Sheriffs harbour, the first British Expedition to revisit the area since Sir John Ross in 1832.
The harbour showed evidence of numerous ancient Inuit settlements, as Ross described in his voyage. The entire area was completely ice-bound giving us some idea of what the original explorers had endured for four years.
The next objective for our team is another land move South to Felix harbour, where we hope to find further relics from the Victory.
In Ross’s account he was forced to abandon the engine here, as it was beyond repair.
A quick hello to my wife Elaine and Alex(4) and Jessica(3) see you in three weeks - ice permitting!