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Banks Island, August 3, 2013

posted August 4, 2013

Well, it was a wonderful day on the sea and the land, but we encountered the same problems that the Mary Sachs ran into 99 years ago in exactly the same place. We had clear skies and calm seas when we set out this morning for our trip to the west coast. Mack and I were in John Lucas’ Jr’s boat, and John Sr and his wife Samantha in the other. Samantha was as eager as the rest of us to get up to the west coast. She was appointed the official “Expedition Seamstress” ready to make our winter clothes from caribou skins if needed! Same role as her grandmother on the CAE!

Unfortunately the ice was just too much. We got as far as the end of the Duck Hawk Bluffs, just before the beginning of the Cape Kellet sandspit.There the ice had pushed right into the beach and extended out as far as we could see. We landed, climbed up to look at the distant ice situation, then reluctantly agreed that there was no chance of getting through at the shoreline, nor by circling way out to sea. The ice was thick and well-packed as far as we could see. Just too risky any way we looked at it.

So, it was plan B once again. We cruised around in the ice, watching for seals, both ringed and bearded seals were common. We watched as John Sr. shot a seal for food, then retrieved it from the sea bottom with a hook sinker made from the propeller shaft of the schooner Cora (John had brought it back from Cora Harbour years ago). We climbed up to the top of the bluffs, saw Sandhill Cranes on the horizon, King Eider ducks flying by, and a pair of Peregrine Falcons with flying young along the bluffs. Lots of flowers still in bloom.

The crew of the Mary Sachs also climbed the bluffs back in 1914, hoping to find a way through the ice, then retreated back to establish their camp at Mary Sachs Creek. So we did the same. It was a rewarding day of historical research. We focused on the beach area where we had found the 3rd engine head earlier, and found a part of the same engine, then discovered a cast-iron wood-stove door. So the day was a success. We met the RCMP guys on an excursion, and the Lucas family came out on their vehicles to warn us the the wind and waves were building near Sachs. So we reluctantly returned for an evening meal and a re-booking into the guest house. Not exactly where we had hoped to end our great day, but happy with our observations and accomplishments.

David and Mack