National Geographic Resolution arrived at Beechy Island under blue skies and calm seas. The morning was spent visiting the gravesite of three crew members from John Franklin’s Erebus and Terror expedition in search of the Northwest Passage. Beechey Island is located at the southwest corner of Devon Island and was named after William Beechey (1753-1839) by Captain William Parry. Sir John Franklin selected Beechey Island for his winter encampment in 1845. It was on the island that the three crew members died and were buried in marked graves. In 1903, Roald Amundsen visited the graves at the beginning of his successful voyage through the Northwest Passage. After visiting the gravesite, guests enjoyed short, medium, and long hikes around the island.
In the afternoon, all guests and staff on National Geographic Resolution were treated to a viewing of seven polar bears, many harp seals, and the odd peek at the wonderous and elusive narwhals at Caswell Tower. The presence of polar bears on fast ice prevented a shore visit, but wildlife viewing from the bridge and upper decks provided many photographic opportunities. Caswell Tower is located just across from Beechey Island on Devon Island and is an isolated peak consisting of sheer cliffs. It is located in Radstock Bay, where Thule archeological sites have been discovered. In the Caswell Tower area, artifacts from the Franklin expedition have also been found.
After visiting Radstock Bay, our navigation progressed eastwards through the Parry Channel towards Maxwell Bay for more fast ice and marine mammal viewing.