The Boothia Peninsula Expedition
August 18 to August 30, 1998

TEAM MEMBERS: John Harrington - Team Leader
John MacDonald - Archaeologist
Ron Rust - Amateur Historian
PURPOSE: Over the past five years the Franklintrail teams have carefully searched the western and southwestern coast of King William Island. We have been very fortunate to have made significant discoveries on each trip. Our feeling is that there is still much to be discovered including: where is John Franklin buried? and where are the graves of more than twenty other men who died between when the ships left Beechy Island in 1846 and when they abandoned the ships in April 1848? There is one prime area that has not received much attention over the years, namely the western coast of The Boothia Peninsula north of King William Island. James Ross discovered the magnetic north pole in this area in 1831. One of Franklin's mandates was to have his men do further research in this regard. It is almost certain that some of Franklin's men came across to The Boothia to map, explore and research the magnetic north. It is possible that a major encampment was made in this area to do long term research.

Map showing Boothia Peninsula This area is very difficult to get to. It is our plan to fly to Taloyoak (Spence Bay) and go by boat up the coast. Pat Lyall of Taloyoak has been kind enough to make arrangements for us. We will be hiring two men and their boats for a ten day period beginning August 19th. We have purposely left it late in the season so that the sea ice will be at its minimum. The weather has been very warm up there this summer; we hope that it continues. We plan to stop and visit Matty Island on the way northwards. Our point of beginning our exploration will be at Cape Adelaide Regina near where Ross discovered the magnetic north pole. (approximately 70 degrees, 6 minutes north) It would be our plan to walk up the coast and meet with the boats every few miles as agreed to on a day to day basis. We will probably go no further north than Cape Alexander (approximately 70 degrees, 25 minutes north. We are well aware that weather conditions will dictate to a large extent what we do and when we do it.

The men will be equiped with guns to protect us from polar bears and also to provide food for us. Other than the ptarmigan that Doug Stern shot for us on our April trip, this will be the first time we will have lived off the land. John MacDonald is a vegetarian but will eat fish. The question of the day is: will he eat any seal? Another question: will I eat any seal? Living off the land will be a new and exciting experience for all of us.

We look forward to reporting our daily activities over the Internet.


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