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.

domingo, 4 de noviembre de 2012


The arctic is a dangerous place, the main enemies you can find are the weather conditions, the extreme cold, strong gales and winds, icebergs, the tramps  of ice  for ships in the straits, etc. but,  other dangers walk and run over the ice floes and over the ground and have been also, a lot of times,  a cause of tragedy since the beginnings of the exploration.

Reading the book writen by Frederick William Beechey "A voyage of discovery towards the North Pole", about the expediton towards the North Pole commanded by David Buchan, it is curious how he mention an accident, or a tragedy depending on the point of view, which happened to William Barents during his second voyage near Nova Zembla.

Frederick William Beechey : From the wikipedia.
 In this narration, which have captivated me since the moment on which I read the first pages, Frederick tells how the crew of Barents were attacked by a polar bear. In the course of an exploration party in order to find some "diamond like" stones, two of the men were lying on the ice resting, then a polar bear appeared and caught one of them by the neck. The poor man, unaware of that he was being attacked by a huge polar bear shout: "Who is it that pulls me so by the neck?"· that were his latest words, a moment after the polar bear bit his head. The other mate run away and the rest of the men on the ice, twenty in total, came to his aid.
Though they carried their charged weapons and their pikes prepared, they were attacked by the bear which caught another man. The death of this second man is lively described by Barents as follows "...which she (the bear) tore into pieces", an awful death. The men run away after this attack.

Barents and other mates which were on the ships, took a boat and tried to encourage the crew to try to kill the bear, only four of them were brave enough to fight against her. They shot in her forehead between the eyes, and hit her with axes several times. The bear had the corpse of the man still on her claws, not was until a man hit strongly into her snout, that the bear finally fell and released the dead man.

Crew of the Barents´s expeditions against the Polar bear_From the wikipedia.

Numerous times we have heard about attacks or threats of this big, brutal, agressive but also strong, brave,  elegant and magnificient animals to the humans, even while Jhon Geiger  and Owen Beattie and were in Beechey Island a polar bear approach inadvertenly to the camp. The expedition of the Ingeneer Andree was supossed to be attacked by another bear, Nansen dealed with them several times in the course of his trip towards the North Pole.

Polar Bear_From the wikipedia.

In the end, the arctic is its natural place to live, we, the Kabloonas, are no more but invaders which from the point of view of the Polar Bear are no more than fresh, original and strange food which with no doubt must be of a remarkably bad taste. I think that they had all the rights to eat us if they consider it appropiate for the occasion.

4 comentarios:

  1. Coca-Cola bears they are not. Interesting post :-) I'd seen mentions of Polar-bear-terror but never actually read accounts of it like in the David Buchan expedition.

  2. Not at all. Much more dangerous and fascinating!!

  3. A chilling post! The polar bear approaching John Hartnell's autopsy tent is something readers of "Frozen in Time" won't soon forget! I agree with your closing sentiments--the Arctic is a desperate place, so these skilled predators need to consume whatever fresh meat they can find!

    Have you ever read about the dangers faced by whaling ships? I'd like to check out "The Arctic Whalers" by Basil Lubbock.

  4. No I didn´t know and I will put it on my list inmediately, it sounds very well. They confronted dangerous situations, hard conditions, not for nothing the masters of the expeditions ships were all of them Captain whalers.

    I´ve read recently in "Arctic Labyrinth" about a big disaster among a fleet of whalers near the shores of Greenland. Fifty whalers were beset by the ice in 1777 and the ice threw them against the coast. Twenty six ships were sunk and three hundred men died that summer. It seems that the survival whalers took the crews of the shipwrecks but soon after the rescue ships were beset in turn.