Finding Parry’s wake

Armed with a new ice chart and a last look over Barrow Strait we have decided to head South into Prince Regent Inlet. As the ice chart shows a big concentration of ice in the south of Peel Sound, we will take our chances on Bellot Strait later next week. It will give the ice time to dissolve as it has been doing over the past week.

We have made good time and have the luxury of choosing our next strategic point. Destination: Port Bowen. On this leg of our journey we will be following Sir W.E. Parry. In the year 1819. Parry was rewarded a price for having reach 30 degrees more West then before. On this expedition he discovered Barrow Strait and Prince regent Inlet. He had shown which way to go in the search for the North West Passage. In 1821 he discovered Hecla and Fury strait, but not the ‘hoped for’ opening to the South.


Parry started a third Arctic expedition in 1824 where he met with vigorous ice. This summer proved much colder and the winter more severe than his 1819 trip. When rounding Cape York, Parry and his officers decided to winter in Port Bowen. Their ships Hecla and Fury where laid up. Yards and top masts where brought down and a trapline covered the ship. Parry was known to look after his crew. He had made innovations in cloths and their material, as well as set up a classroom for those willing to be taught. He had also brought the first canned food into the Arctic as he knew it would be hard to live of the land this far North.

These cans saved John Ross, but more on that later. Boredom or maybe even depression was the biggest enemy of a crew beset in the ice. The officers passed time taking sights of the Aurora Borealis as well as the magnetic field. Small expeditions where made on the ice and land to chart the area.  The summer that followed proved to be disastrous. The severe winter only lost its grip far into summer. The ice proved too much for the ships and both where driven ashore multiple times. The Fury became a total loss after some great attempts to salvage her. When finally, the decision came to abandon her, refuge was found in another harbour called Neill’s Harbour only a little to the south of Port Bowen. Parry’s account of Neill’s harbour

“Neill’s Harbour, the only one on the eastern shore of Prince Regent’s Inlet, except for Port Bowen, to which it is far superior, corresponds with one of the apparent openings seen at a distance in 1819, and marked on the chart of that voyage as a valley or a bay. We found it not merely a convenient place of shelter but an excellent harbour with sufficient place for a number of ships, and holding ground of the best quality, consisting of tenacious mud of greenish colour, in which the flukes of an anchor are entirely embedded. A great deal of anchoring ground is entirely land locked, and some shoal points that narrow the entrance would serve to break off any heavy sea from the eastward”

Now that is first-hand information! No harbour is pointed out in our pilot or chart. However, there is an inlet shown at the exact location! We will definitely have a look at Neill’s Harbour!


Prince Regent Inlet has many places of interest as we will find out in the course of the coming week! For now, we will make use of the light north westerly winds and maybe test our topsails again when we cross Barrow Strait!


Have a good watch!

Suggested route in black 

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