Burial of John Franklin. Author: me


Kabloonas is the way in which the Inuit who live in the north part of Canada call those who haven´t their same ascendency.

The first time i read this word was in the book "Fatal Passage" by Ken McGoogan, when, as the result of the conversations between John Rae and some inuit, and trying to find any evidence of the ill-fated Sir John Franklin Expedition, some of then mentioned that they watched how some kabloonas walked to die in the proximities of the river Great Fish.

I wish to publish this blog to order and share all those anecdotes that I´ve been finding in the arctic literature about arctic expeditions. My interest began more than 15 years ago reading a little book of my brother about north and south pole expeditions. I began reading almost all the bibliography about Antarctic expeditions and the superknown expeditions of Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton, etc. After I was captured by the Nansen, Nobile and Engineer Andree. But the most disturbing thing in that little book, full of pictures, was the two pages dedicated to the last Franklin expedition of the S.XIX, on that moment I thought that given the time on which this and others expeditions happened, few or any additional information could be obtained about it. I couldn´t imagine that after those two pages It would be a huge iceberg full of stories, unresolved misteries, anecdotes, etc. I believe that this iceberg, on the contrary than others, would continue growing instead melting.

miércoles, 5 de diciembre de 2012


It was in the year 1826 when the HMS Erebus saw the light for first time and it was nineteen years after, as a rebel teenager, when the HMS Erebus would get out far from her home definetely towards her last trip.
Pemborke dock_Milford Haven from: http://www.naval-history.net/

Her mother, the Pembroke dock shipyard, located in Pemborkeshire in Wales, had its origin in 1757, when the Admiralty sent a delegation to the private shipyard of Jacobs situated on Milford Haven with the intention of manage it. Time after,  George, the Prince regent instead his insane father George III, took it under the control of the Navy. This happened in October of 1815, soon after the Waterloo battle against Napoleon.
The Pembroke Shipyard was a modest and specialized one, it had only a dry dock but it had a prolific production. Pembroke produced other famous arctic ships. Besides the HMS Erebus, the Alert was also built in 1856 and was the ship on which Nares wintered in Floeberg Beach in 1875 at a very high latitude.
Reading the detailed biograhy of this place on the link above, we realized that in some sense this shipyard was doomed, a lot of its "children" died by the effect of the fire, were wrecked or simply were lost forever in the arctic or in the middle of the ocean. Reading its history one only can wonder if the poor men of the HMS Erebus were victims of some kind of gnarled hex.
Some paintings of the docks are available here (links below). They were made on the nineteen century, one of them in 1851, while perhaps some men of the Franklin expedition were still struggling for their lives.
It is shocking, if you take some minutes to think on it, how strange is the contrast between the peace and tranquility which this pictures inspire and the horrid moments which were happening thousand of miles northwest of this place in the well known, for much of us, place of the shores of King William Island.
Watching this paintings you never could have imagined that this site would be the origin of so much suffering and mistery:

4 comentarios:

  1. Interesting post, it's surprising that so many bad things happened to ships that were built there.

  2. Yes, though in fact I don´t know if this kind of events were common in the shipyards of that time. At least the HMS Alert, the other arctic vessel built there, finished her days peacefully. I will investigate on the Davy shipyard , where the HMS Terror was built.

  3. Great post! I can't wait to see what you uncover about the Davy Shipyard. Another shipyard that comes to mind is the New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn, which built the USS Maine (ACR-1) that later exploded and precipitated the Spanish-American War. I'm sure there are quite a few others that produced vessels of tragedy.

  4. I don´t know if the story of the USS Maine was defenitely solved or not. I watch once a very interesting documentary of the National Geographic on which it was explained a theory, based on computerized and dinamyc simulations, that said that there was evidences of an inside explosion, because how the metal sides of the hole opened on the bottom of the hull were bent outward, which (it seems so) demonstrated that the origin of the explosion wasn´t a mine. Likely this is no more than another "complot" theory, or perhaps the explosion was in fact provoked to initiate the war, but for my understanding, it doesn´t matter if the explosion was provoked or not, the wars begin if the goverments wants, the rest of the facts which surround the beginnings are no more than parafernalia to justify the confrontations in front of the general public opinion and always the same people pay the consecuences of the wars, the civilians. You can read it here, in the point called "investigation": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Maine_(ACR-1)