Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Safe Waters

Last week, after over 160 years of searching, the Terror was located at the bottom of the Arctic Sea. The Terror was one of two ships lost by John Franklin in the most disastrous of the 19th-century attempts to find a Northwest passage. We also blogged about Franklin when his other ship, Erebus was found two years ago. The Terror, it turns out, has remained amazingly well preserved, safely submerged in icy water.

To celebrate, we thought it might be nice to remember the Terror's glory days when it successfully navigated arctic waters, provided shelter for its crew, and returned triumphant. In 1836, Captain George Back led a two-year expedition of discovery into the Arctic commanding the Terror. The ship had been specially fitted with a heating system and the hull reinforced to withstand the ice's pressure. The Terror was home to the crew during the long polar winter when they were trapped in the ice.

Back, who was later knighted for leading the expedition, wrote a stirring account. The illustrations show the ship in peril, but always as a refuge from the real terror, the weather. The Terror brought Back and his crew home safely on this journey, Franklin was not so lucky.

To see the images, ask for Back's Narrative of the Expedition in H.M.S Terror, Stef G650 1836 .B12.

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