Our Northwest Passage voyage reaches for the Beaufort Sea

[Here endeth this series about our 2016 Adventure Canada voyage. Next September, we sail Out of the Northwest Passage, bent on finding the Hand of Franklin (or at least visiting the location of the Erebus).]

Cambridge Bay

We saw the wreck of the Maud, recently
brought to the surface after 80 years underwater in Cambridge Bay. We zoomed
over for a close look as we headed from ship to shore. A Norwegian recovery
team brought the old ship to the surface not long before we arrived. With winter
closing in, they would have to wait until next year to float the vessel to
Norway, where they will restore it and display it.

Explorer Roald Amundsen had the
shallow-draft Maud built in 1916, with a view to drifting over the North Pole.
He brought it to the Beaufort Sea from the west, but in 1925, with creditors
knocking at his door, sold it to the Hudson’s Bay Company. The HBC renamed it
the Baymaud and used it as a supply ship until 1930, when it sank in Cambridge

Once ashore on this crisp Saturday
morning, voyagers rambled the town until around 10 a.m. Most people checked out
the Visitors’ Centre, or the Northern Store or Co-op, before heading to the
Community Centre for some best-ever bannock and coffee. Then came an excellent
presentation that included a fashion show, some fiddle music, and an Inuit
sports demonstration that included our own Johnny Issaluk. Somehow, we managed
to keep to a tight schedule, and by 1 p.m., the Ocean Endeavour was bound for Kugluktuk.

The highlight of the afternoon was a
wide-ranging, 90-minute panel discussion presented by the six outstanding Inuit
on board. They touched on everything from the need for increased infrastructure
(for example, landing docks like the ones that exist in Greenland) to suicide
prevention to cruise-ship tourism, which panel members stressed is most
welcome, as long as it is carefully managed. 



The seas were choppy, but everyone
arrived safely at the wooden dock in Kugluktuk. Two buses carried us to
Heathrow North, aka the Kugluktuk airport, where we boarded two planes and
started for home. Just before we left, two flights arrived in Kugluktuk carrying
passengers set to voyage Out of the
Northwest Passage
. We welcomed them to Heathrow with a rousing rendition of
Stan Rogers’ classic tune, Northwest Passage. And then we went on our way.

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