Wednesday, 13 August 2008

6825 09628 Starvation Cove

We are 11 miles north of Starvation Cove where the final group of the Franklin people are believed to have died. In the last half hour, we must have crossed their paths over the ice to get there. No-one knows how many were left or who they were - a few, emaciated, ragged, frostbitten men carrying the desperate hope that they could find help or get to a settlement on the mainland. There is evidence that they made camp at Starvation Cove and got no further. They have been given the credit for actually discovering the North West Passage by crossing this stretch of water, although they did not know that they had. Some 50 years later, Amundsen proved it. I feel almost ashamed that it has been so easy for us to get here and deep sadness, respect and a sense of the heroic futility of it all for the Franklin people. Expectations, imperial politics, mistakes at all levels and a failure to learn from them and ultimately disaster. May they rest in peace and may the cruise ships never ever come here to disturb them.

And, perhaps, this is our first real link with the other side - a crossing of ways and a small achievement even if nothing else works from here.

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