Monday, April 8, 2013

As the first post in this blog, I thought to explain its creation as a place for my themed posts centered around my short fiction and novels. 

For today’s posting of  I’ve chosen Parry’s Third Voyage of Discovery, the very same narrowly thwarted by brain-seeking zombies.

It was often said that had William Parry’s third voyage have been his first, he would never have had a second. Leaving in May of 1824, Parry commanded HMS Hecla a bomber vessel of 377 tons, accompanied by consort vessel HMS Fury 372 tons, under Henry Hoppner as second in command.

In Baffin Bay, the unpredictable ice conditions to which the arctic is infamous for, made themselves known. The pack ice was wider than expected that year, navigating it with the heavy, ponderous bomber ships, they sought to reach Lancaster Sound, only doing so by early September, losing precious time in the short sailing season.

On September 13, both ships were caught in the ice barely twenty one miles from Prince Regent Inlet. Parry consulted with Hoppner as to whether or not a retreat was in order. A move both soon decided against, certain it would be viewed as cowardice by fastidious John Barrow at the Admiralty. A strong westerly gale soon split the seas, releasing the ships they were swept back toward Lancaster Sound, then with a change in wind direction were returned, sailing down fifty miles to a place Parry called Point Bowen to overwinter in polar darkness.

It was during this period of inactivity that Henry Hoppner is credited with the ‘bals masqués.’ Masquerade balls held once a month during the winter months instead of amateur theatricals to fight off stultifying boredom from polar confinement.

The ships were finally freed July 20 1825, reaching a distance of sixty miles before Hecla and Fury were driven toward the shores of Somerset Island. Hecla eventually extricated herself, but the hapless Fury wasn’t as fortunate. Thrown against shore ice, her crew was rendered helpless as their ship was broken apart by icebergs.

Around the clock, Hoppner’s men worked, unloading Fury’s stores on the strip of land that would bear their foundered ship’s name: Fury Beach. Repairs were attempted to achieve a seaworthy vessel, but none held and Fury’s wreck had to be left behind while her crew boarded Hecla for the return voyage home.

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