Ballot and Bellot

71’54.6N 094’26.5W at anchor Levesque Harbor

With a boat full of snow and a falling barometer we make for Pemmican Rock at the entrance of Bellot Strait. Pemmican is the word used for dried meat that fed most of the expeditions that mapped these areas. It was often put in caches, stones pilled up on top of it to keep the bears out and make it easier to find. No dried meat on these red rocks today.
We are about to enter the strait that marks the most northern point of the AmericaÕs. At Zenith Point we will look south and think of our friends and adventures in Chili, the furthest point south of the continent!
Bellot Strait was first discovered in 1852 by Capt Kennedy and the young French officer Bellot. They were part of a search party for the Franklin expedition and wintered their Ketch Prince Albert at Batty Bay. They traversed its length by sledge on a trip that took more than 1800 miles! Young Bellot was less fortuned a year later. While sledging with dispatches for Capt. Belcher he slipped between the ice floes in the Wellington Channel. He left two narratives who are more than worth their time to read.

It was not until 1937 that the first ship passed through. The Hudson Bay Company schooner Aklavik. The HBC set up a shop and a keepers house at Fort Ross. It was only short lived for 11 years later the place was shut down. Simply because it was so far out of the way.

The tides in Bellot make it a tricky water way. Normally it is only used by ships with icebreaker assistance. It can be completely blocked by ice. The strong currents make navigation here extremely hazardous! But not today! We were just intime for slack water and there was no ice anywhere near the place. We entered the fjord-like canal under mizzn and stay sail. The silence was overwhelming as we glided past the Precambrian rocks, some of the oldest on the continent.
When we reached Zenith Point sure enough a polar bear and cup showed up setting us all in a frenzy! The first Bear!!!!

We dropped anchor or anchors in Depot Bay. Ready for the stronger winds that where to come. That evening we visited the houses and paid our respects at the McClintock plaque. Next morning we were of on a hike to find a good view over the bay. Following the muskox tracks we made it to the top of Mount Walker and could see 360 around us! Breath taking! I stood on top of the rock with my back to the wind and my left arm two points in front of me. ( The rule of Buys Ballot) and knew exactly where the center of this low pressure area was! It seems that the north has been dealing with more than one depression these last weeks. It is going to make live interesting the next couple of days.

Levesque Harbor

Gijs

One Response to “Ballot and Bellot

  • Alina
    6 months ago

    What a impressing picture. I just noted that it´spossible to leave a response here.
    I can´t imagine so lomg time on board and in the cold, but I am fascinated by the ice water landscape. Good further journey and huge to Unda!
    Looking forward to the ext Logbooknotes – Alina

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