All team members have returned home safely.
The expedition encountered unprecedented equipment failures and bad weather. In spite of this, we did make it into the field with some great success.
Dom was able to get some great film footage, including some fantastic wildlife shots such as fox pups playing all around him and some fresh wolf kills (muskox).
The most enticing site identified in previous years' aerial surveys was eliminated as a Franklin related site.
Most exciting was that some new sites and artefacts were found which may be related to the Franklin Expedition, including the possibility of Franklin documents. Confirmation will require the involvement of professional archeologists with more resources. Undoubtedly, this means next season.
Thank you so much to the Department of Culture and Heritage, Government of Nunavut, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Mountain Equipment Co-op and WMJ Metals Ltd.; a special thanks to Tyler King and Landa Aviation; and thank you to all our wonderful friends in Gjoa Haven and to our supporters on the internet and Facebook!
-- Tom Gross and the Expedition Team
Everyone returned safe last night, although very wet! The team members will be dispersing and going home over the next couple of days. There is a lot to be discussed. We will provide a summary of the expedition's finds as soon as possible.
Gjoa Haven awaits the return of the expedition team, expected late this evening. The weather turned rainy this afternoon. All is well.
Expedition team found good sites with Franklin artifacts - leather, wood, metal, and nails. They began the return trip to Gjoa Haven. Expect to be back in Gjoa Haven by late Tuesday.
Searched on the north side of the lake and found more old Inuit sites. Now breaking camp and starting to head south (back to Gjoa Haven). Going to search around Payer Point today.
Today's update covers expedition activities over the last several days. At present, updates are coming through Crossing the Line films in Ireland.
Sunday, August 5 - Darcy King was going to fly in and meet us at Two Grave Bay. The team ended up returning to Gjoa Haven on Sunday - Darcy met us there and flew us all to a lake that was east of Two Grave Bay and was closest to our primary target.
Monday, August 6 - We walked to site. Found Inuit caches and hunting blinds. Also found a toppled cairn that would have stood around six feet tall when upright. The cairn was not Inuit. The only metal objects found at the site were relatively modern brass rifle cartridges.
Tuesday, August 7 - Darcy King flew us all back to Gjoa Haven. A huge thank you to Darcy, Kim and Landa Aviation for the use of their amphibious Cessna Caravan.
Wednesday, August 8 - We have only three reliable ATVs, so the gear was repacked and Tom, Jacob and Dom left on Tuesday to return to the search area. Russell returned to Hay River with Darcy and Kim. Kevin, Pam and Bill remain in Gjoa Haven.
Thursday, August 9 - The search party overnighted at Gladman Point. At 3 pm Thursday they were making good progress over the Washington Bay esker.
Daily updates continue to be difficult due to problems with Bill's InReach. The team has found and documented the Harry Goodsir grave site (as noted in previous updates) and the Hall monument. They are taking more time than hoped, due to mechanical issues with the quads. They plan to be in Erebus Bay by today.
Camped last night at the river leading to Douglas Bay. Placed Goodsir memorial plaque. Still having some ATV problems.
The expedition had a slow start yesterday due to some equipment problems (including 6 flat tires on the quads). They spent some time filming today, and visited the Goodsir memorial this morning.
August 1, Evening
The team has arrived safely in Gjoa Haven. They expect to finish organizing the equipment and depart in the morning.
The group plans to leave Gjoa Haven on August 2, 2018 and return to Gjoa Haven on August 14, 2018. The route is shown on the map below. The goal is to document Franklin sites identified by Tom Gross on previous searches (over the past 24 years). Most importantly, the group will investigate what appeared to be Franklin related camp sites seen in aerial surveys conducted in 2016 and 2017. One is in the Erebus Bay area and the other close to Cape Felix.
The Expedition is now underway, and is sending daily progress updates via satellite texting. These updates are being posted in the "Live Updates" section above, as well as on the Facebook Group "Remembering the Franklin Expedition".