Ron Carlson Arctic Expeditions

Ron Carlson Arctic Expeditions
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Prince of Wales Fort - Cape Merry, at Churchill

Did some hiking around here in Churchill since Friday.  Here are a few pics.

Prince of Wales Fort - Cape Merry

(Left) I took this picture Friday evening at the cannon battery across the Churchill River from the Prince of Wales Fort.  In the distance, under a fog bank, you can see the  outline of the Fort.  By the late 1720s the uneasy peace between England and France threatened to disintegrate, and in 1730 the Hudson's Bay Company authorized the construction of a stone fortification here at the mouth of the Churchill River. Prince of Wales Fort was built in 1731-1771, at a time when its major shipment and supply route operated from Hudson’s Bay through Arctic waters. 

The fortress was constructed to be an impregnable English stronghold, and today it's imposing 12 m thick walls and 40 mounted cannon still survive along with this battery, cannon and powder magazine built to safeguard it on Cape Merry. As commander of the fort, Explorer Samuel Hearne surrendered it to the French in 1782, an act that terminated Hudson’s Bay occupation and terminated Prince of Wales Fort’s utility. 

Miss Piggy
Here is a pic I took yesterday of "Miss Piggy", a Curtiss C-46 Commando which crash landed in November 1979. The plane was  affectionately named because of the sheer abundance of cargo it was able to carry, also at one stage it did have a cargo of pigs.  On the fateful day, the plane had mechanical problems after taking off from Churchill Airport and was attempting to return to land, but came down several miles short of the landing strip.  it came  to rest on a rocky cliff after topping a few trees and taking out power lines. Fortunately there were no fatalities but two of the three crew were seriously injured. 

 MV Ithica Shipwreck

Here is a shot from yesterday while I was hiking the coast of Hudson Bay at a place called Birds Cove.  The MV Ithaca (below) was a British owned steamship, built in 1922 in, Quebec and is 80 meters long. It was heading to Rankin Inlet (Hudson Bay community) to deliver generators and plywood.  The ship ran aground after the engines failed and the 80 MPH gale-force winds pushed it to it's present location.  

The hull was punctured and ripped, and the prop and rudder torn off.  Local rumour says the MV Ithaca was deliberately run aground for the insurance money.  Lloyds of London investigated the incident and agreed that it was indeed done purposely. Consequently, no insurance was paid to the owners. 

When the ice is gone, in low tide, one can walk out there.  It's about a mile off shore.  Hurry back tho.  I think it's under 10 hours before the tide rises again.

Abandoned Structures

No shortage of abandoned buildings here. They come in all shapes and sizes, from little shacks to huge government scientific and military buildings.  On the right is a pic I took Friday of a little shack that is common on the coastline.  

As I mentioned previously, next week I hope to do some exploring for old HBC trading posts out in the bush.  Will get pics to post here.

Churchill Critters

From yesterday

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic pictures!! Good luck for your research! Will be a pleasure follow it!!
    Nicola from Italy