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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Searching Certain Bay and Shorelines on a Hunch

Spent a few days at a remote location, not on KWI, on a hunch that the ship or ships that may have retreated here - late in the summer of 1848 or 1849.  There may quite possibly have been a warmer summer and ice pack conditions with earlier melt off.  If so, a handful of the men could have hastily made it back to one or both of the ships  in order to sail back to the north.......or even west.

This was one of my most physically exhausting endeavors ever.  I hiked - in all - about 40 miles, through all types of terrain.  Of course I didn't do this all at once or in a day.  Biting swarms of July mosquitos were the rule.  The challenge was keeping them out of the airplane when turning in for sleep.  Also, keep your mouth closed at all times.  I probably choked on a few dozen before I adapted.  The weather was haunting with fog and squalls moving in and out for half of the time there.

Arrival (video - click here)

Hundredss of biting mosquitos swarming

In addition, I flew over the water on 2 sorties, covering almost all of the surface area of the bay and mouth to the ocean.  One could clearly see the bottom, especially at the bottom of the bay.  In certain parts, which are well protected from the pack ice, like at Beechy Island's bay, there was interesting rock terrain and small rises suitable for a camp.  But no sign of there ever being a human here.

Had some scary moments with the engine sputtering several times about every 5 or 8 minutes.  On the last occasion it practically quit. Of course it always happens when you are at the most remote point from base, right?

I was at 2,000 feet with nowhere really suitable to glide and land.  There was no warning when it would happen.  It was sudden and alarming.  No time to limp to a safe landing spot, so I had to constantly try to manufacture an out.  Luckily in the end, I finally ascertained that I was getting carburetor ice, so applying the carb heat in the engine system quickly took care of that.  It made sense - there was a lot of low wispy fog on the ocean shoreline coming in, from the condensation of the melting pack ice.  And the weather was overcast with small squalls.  All the perfect ingredients for icing up here.

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