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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).]



DAY SIXTEEN . . . 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 Bay.
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. 
  
DAY SEVENTEEN -- Kugluktuk

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.


Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.

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