Captain's Log: Only a few more days to find Franklin cluesSeptember 10, 2012 12:12 PM
A screen capture from the Sir Wilfrid Laurier's electronic charting system shows the alternate route through Alexandra Strait. Also indicated in red is the position of the Laurier at the time of the screen capture.
(Bill Noon, a 31-year veteran of the Canadian Coast Guard, is a captain on the icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier as it completes its 2012 Arctic mission and offers a two-week support stint to the Parks Canada-led search for the missing ships of explorer Sir John Franklin.)
Day 17 Sept. 8, 2012, 1442h
In just a few hours, the Canadian Hydrographic Service will complete the preliminary electronic charting of a new route taking us further south into Alexandra Strait.
Only one vessel is known to have previously sailed this specific route - the U.S. Coast Guard ship Storis, which left behind a very narrow track line of soundings around 1957.
This single line of soundings has been described by Andrew as a dirt track.
But now, the depth and sidescan sonar collected by Gannet, Kinglett and Martin Bergmann this past week has been used to compile the electronic chart and CCGS Laurier will soon be able to safely transit from Victoria Strait to Storis Passage to shorten our trip to Gladman Point by at least six to seven hours, which makes for significant fuel savings on an icebreaker.
Eventually this work could lead to a new chart of an alternate route in the Northwest Passage around King William Island.
This charting also opens up an area for Parks Canada to continue its search for the sunken HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, as ice and current models suggest that the lost ships may have drifted from the site of abandonment into this zone.
The other partners are also taking full advantage of these last few days onboard, and every weather opportunity will be seized.
Today looks very promising, as the 20-knot winds of the early morning continue to drop.
Anne-Marie and Mélanie embarked on a flight early this morning, and completed some Radarsat-2 ground verification and GPS work at Cape Crozier.
The Gannet and Kinglett are well underway, and the AUV has collected depth and sidescan sonar data across 12 transit lines in the Alex South Block.
The sonar pole on the Bergmann was redesigned and rebuilt with senior coast guard engineer Gary Babin's incredible machining abilities, allowing them to continue surveying in Bergmann Block as of 0600 this morning.
One of the hydrographers is heading out to the GPS Reference Station on M'Clintock Point to retrieve data, and our terrestrial archeologists will spend more hours in Erebus Bay near the gravesites today.
We are in full production today, with all our resources deployed, keeping us all extremely busy.
Only a few more days until most of our non-coast guard guests head off the Laurier.
Only a few more days before we return to our normal operations.
Only a few more days to find more clues to Franklin's lost ships.