Saturday, September 21, 2019

Guided Tour Inside the Wreck of HMS Terror

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Archeology
History
Edward Hessler

Parks Canada has produced a film of an underwater exploration of HMS Terror, one of the ships in the ill-fated Franklin expedition that departed England in 1845. The second ship, the largest, was the HMS Erebus. The purpose of the expedition was to complete the final section of the Northwest Passage. All 129 members of the two boats were lost and never heard from.

In 2014, the wreck of HMS Erebus was found in 11 meters (~36') of water and in 2016, the wreck of the HMS Terror was found in 24 meters (~79') of water. The Wiki entry on the Franklin expedition summarizes the background of the expedition, including preparations (command, ships, provisions and crew, crew manifest, and Australian connections), losses, early searches, overland searches, contemporary search expeditions, modern expeditions (1981 - 2016), and scientific conclusions.

John Franklin, who led the expedition is known as "The Man Who Ate His Boots," for eating boiled lichens and shoe leather. He was one of a group of explorers known as "Barrow's Boys," after John Barrow, Second Secretary to the Admiralty (1804 - 1844), launched the most ambitious exploration program the world has ever seen. His teams of elite naval officers went on missions to fill the blanks that littered the atlases of the day. Those thirty years are beautifully told in Barrow's Boys: A Stirring Story of Daring, Fortitude, and Outright Lunacy by Fergus Fleming. The subtitle is not hype.


Parks Canada Guided Tour Inside HMS Terror was filmed "Over seven days, under exceptional weather conditions, the interior spaces of the wreck of HMS Terror were scientifically and systematically explored for the first time. Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team conducted seven ROV dives and explored 20 cabins/compartments on the ship, in search of uncovering a better understanding of the fate of the Franklin expedition. The team obtained clear images of over 90 per cent of the lower deck of the ship, which includes the living quarters of the crew."

The film is a remarkable achievement.

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