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.

lunes, 16 de septiembre de 2013


Reading, as I am doing now, "Weird and Tragic SHores", I am now aware that the first transatlantic cable was laid on the ocean between the British islands and America during the years 1854 and 1858. I´ve always supposed that it was laid soon before the first world war, but it was not. It was much sooner.

Charles Francis Hall was fascinated by this demonstration of science, (almost science fiction) and of modernity, a demonstration which could be compared perhaps on that time to what the human kind would think about the Moon landings years after. I am also fascinated now by this achievement, and oneself cannot, but being amazed about how a steamer and a barge crossed the Atlantic, more than one hundred and sixty years ago, laying the longest cable of the world to be able to communicate with people at thousand of miles of distance. And one also can´t avoid being less than fascinated if thinks that, while this operation was happening, the Henry Grinnell expedition together with the biggest amount of ships had ever been in the Arctic were trying to find Sir John Franklin and his lost expedition.
When Franklin was lost in the Arctic the comunications in the world were based on letters which crossed the earth from one side to the other. The Postal service in Britain in  the nineteenth century was surely the most effective, sure and quick one. Remember that following a postal service line, George Back crossed England from the south to the north during the beginning of the first Franklin Expedition when he lost the ship in the southeast shores of England to end reaching them in the Orkney islands soon after.
 It is true that the Telegraph had been already discovered, but it was still on its beginnings and, of course,  there weren´t telegraph lines in the Arctic and there weren´t neither post offices in the Arctic Archipiélago nor horses to carry rapidly to the civilization their messages with news about their discoveries, with their letters addressed to their families containing their dreams, fears and anxieties and with their SOS messages.
Franklin couldn´t use all those wonders, Franklin couldn´t use the telegraph though it already was a reality on that time. Balloons, bottles, pigeons, cairns and medals tied to arctic foxes were the only means available on that time for the expeditions which were in desolated regions to communicate  with the rest of the world.
In a crazy world which was witnessing an eruption of  discoveries and amazing scientific achievements  which increased and improved the communications in a way never seen before, paradoxically, the last and lost Franklin expedition was without any question alone.

2 comentarios:

  1. Good points, Andres. You have done an excellent job of addressing some facts that are often taken for granted. It is a sad and peculiar irony that this explosion of technical innovation was so far from Franklin's grasp.

  2. Thank you Jaeschylus, Russell Potter showed me that there was another project to build another cable further north, it was called the "Northern Line", and that Leopold McClinctock was doing some survey just after coming back from the expedition to find Franklin in the Fox. Amazingly this point is ommitted in almost all the short biographies I have read.

    On this link is the description of the project. The idea was laying the cable beginning in north Scotland and passing throught Iceland, Greenland before reaching the Labrador Peninsula.