Search for the Wreck of the Nova Zembla with the DTG2
Shannon Regan | July 4, 2018
Deep Trekker will embark on a mission to find the missing wreck of the Nova Zembla this summer with the expedition team from the Arctic Institute of North America.
Nova Zembla, Scottish Whaling VesselThe Scottish whaling vessel Nova Zembla, believed to be the first ever British whaling wreckage in Canada’s High Arctic, wrecked in a fjord off Baffin Bay on Thursday, September 18th, 1902. The crew was rescued by fellow whalers, the Diana and Eclipse (in fact it is their logbooks that have provided significant information about the events of that night).
Alongside newspaper testimonies from the crew on their return, these first-hand accounts place the wreck in a harbour on the east coast of Baffin Island, in shallow water and protected from the destructive effects of turbulent sea ice conditions. Nova Zembla struck a reef while running for cover in a storm. It sank fast and the crew had little time to abandon ship. The valuable whalebone was rescued from its stores and transferred to the Diana, who revisited the wreck the following year and salvaged its rudder.
Deep Trekker will embark on a mission to find the missing wreck with the expedition team from the Arctic Institute of North America, later this summer.
The discovery of the ships stands to offer significant historical insight into life in an industry that dominated Canadian waters for centuries.There are very limited accounts of the daily lives of whalers, and particularly the sailors that plied the treacherous waters of the Arctic and contributed to the geographic understanding of the region. For centuries, whaling was an integral part of life in the Arctic and whalers interacted with and, in some cases, integrated into Inuit communities. While the relationship was not always a peaceful one, many whaling companies incorporated Inuit knowledge into their own practices, and later passed that information on to the Royal Navy during their explorations of the Arctic.
Whaling in the Canadian Arctic
If successfully re-located, Nova Zembla would be the first Arctic whaling wreck in the eastern Canadian Arctic to be found and investigated. Whalers were the first sailors to extensively ply these Arctic waters and as such the knowledge gained by their voyages was an invaluable asset to future Arctic voyages.
Information gained from the discovery of the Nova Zembla will complement the current investigation of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, by Deep Trekker and Parks Canada, and contribute to a more holistic understanding of the exploration of the Canadian Arctic.
Further exploration of the surrounding coast will also be conducted to identify the harbour location and any artifact caches on the beach.
Shipwreck Hunting with a Remotely Operated Vehicle
Deep Trekker is excited to be participating in the search for the wreck of the Nova Zembla , offering the expedition team with sonar-equipped ROVs in low-visibility water conditions.
Stay tuned as we set sail to the Arctic and begin our search with the expedition team from the Arctic Institute of North America.
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