Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist Paul Watson has taken a close interest in the search for the 1840s Franklin expedition’s two lost ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and has sailed with the marine archaeologists who have found the ships in recent years. Here he talks on the USA’s National Public Radio service about the experience and what has been learned so far.
Of one of the wrecks he says ‘It’s chilling really to look at it. ‘The ship is almost completely intact. The only thing that’s missing is her three masts, which presumably had been sheared off by moving ice over the years.’
The expedition led by John Franklin was lost while seeking the North West Passage – a route that is now routinely used by shipping, but which in the days long before global warming was more of an idea than a reality.
Subsequent expeditions from Britain and America searched for the missing ships and interviewed Inuit hunters who told an odd tale of a a ghost ship that floated on ice southward, separated from where the two ships had been abandoned, imprisoned in ice.