Historic Arctic find: wreck of HMS Investigator located

The annals of Arctic exploration include lost ships whose crews came to unknown ends.  Centuries of efforts to unravel those mysteries are producing important finds, including a big one, that came this week.

Here’s the lead from an exclusive report filed by Don Martin.

MERCY BAY, N.W.T. – The historic ship whose crew discovered Canada’s Northwest Passage has been found 155 years after it was abandoned and sank in this oft-frozen Arctic bay atop isolated Banks Island.

The wreck of HMS Investigator was detected in shallow water within days of Parks Canada archeologists launching their ambitious search for the 422-tonne ship from this chilly tent encampment on the Beaufort Sea shoreline.

The find is being positioned as adding to Canada’s case for sovereignty in the Arctic.
Who cares?  Well, that’s an issue of ever-growing significance. Retreating sea ice is generating accelerating interest in previously-inaccessible land, natural resources and sea routes.
Sooner than expected, the Arctic region is facing a potential international gold rush for the goodies and the shorter shipping routes.  Changes that are feared and welcomed, depending on one’s viewpoint.

In this article for the National Post, Martin alludes to that larger issue:

Environment Minister Jim Prentice, who arrived at the camp on Tuesday, said that finding a relic linked to the discovery of the Northwest Passage represents a reasserted Canadian claim to Arctic sovereignty.

“It’s fundamental to Canadian sovereignty in the North,” he said in an interview.

“[A]nd the tragic tale of Investigator is one of the most amazing stories of Arctic history. It’s a tale of incredible determination and suffering,” Mr. Prentice said.

This August Parks Canada archeologists will resume efforts to locate the Erebus and Terror,  two vessels lost on the famed Franklin Expedition.
(Full disclosure: Don Martin is an un-related friend and neighbor. Second full disclosure: I am envious of what he’s getting to do on his summer vacation!)
some photos can be seen here

Tags: , ,

11 Comments on “Historic Arctic find: wreck of HMS Investigator located”

Leave a Comment
  1. Dan says:

    That’s as least as interesting as finding the remains of a ship at Ground Zero.

    Dan Simmons has an excellent novel (The Terror) about the Franklmin Expedition. Disclaimer: It’s more horror than historical fiction, but quite an interesting tale about a ship caught in the ice.

  2. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    I heard this morning that another expedition financed by Gerald Rivera claims to have found the remains of Jimmy Hoffa in the same region of the Arctic.

  3. Dan says:


    Jimma Hoffa, a license plate, and an empty liquor bottle.

  4. Pete Klein says:

    My only comment is that we should leave the Arctic alone. Wherever the so called civilized people go, the first thing they do is leave junk and then the mess up really gets going. Junk breads junk as fast a humans breed.
    Junk on Mt. Everest. Junk in the Gulf. Whose got junk? We got junk.

  5. Bret4207 says:

    Dan, I read “The Terror” last year. Weird book. For a little more realistic fare Ernest Shackeltons boat log is available now. That was one interesting guy.

  6. knuckleheadedliberal says:


  7. Bret4207 says:

    Scott and Perry too. And Adm. Byrd. You look into Arctic and Antarctic history and there are many explorers we’ve hardly ever heard of, many of them never returned.

  8. Dan says:

    Sounds interesting, Bret.

    Simmons has some other very good novels, if you liked “terror”.

    Suumer of Night is quite good.

  9. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I must recognize Floyd Bennett born in Warrensburg who was mechanic and aviator with Adm. Byrd on his expeditions.

    Also, Matthew Henson, a black man born shortly after the Civil War ended who accompanied Peary to the Pole, or very near it.

  10. Bret4207 says:

    Knuck- didn’t Floyd buy it on Iwo Jima with Wiley Post? Dang, gonna have to google it now. I always remember Floyd Bennett Park and the bandstand In W-burg.

  11. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    No, Wiley Post and Will Rogers in Barrow, AK, right?

    I don’t remember but I think Floyd died of a cold or pneumonia or something up in Quebec.

Leave a Reply