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Northwest Passage -- The Adventure Continues -- Part 7

August 22, Maxwell Bay (Lat. 74° 46' N, Long. 88° 28' W) & Beechey Island (Lat. 74° 43' N, Long. 91° 48' W)

We arrived at Maxwell Bay shortly after mid-night, laying anchor in the early morning mist. With favourable winds and light rain we made our way to terra firma at Maxwell Bay. This has always been a favourite stop and ours was no exception. After breakfast we disembarked in the low cloud and rain and were amply rewarded for our efforts. Again there were opportunities for the walkers, mostly on the low ground around the inner bay where we learned the geology of the area. Splashes in the water were finally identified as walrus (4 of them) and most of the group got views of this impressive marine mammal. Every now and then spouts and tusks were spotted but they never came very close. On the far side of the bay a larger group, estimated at up to 30 strong, was seen. Way down at the end of the inner bay a solitary Musk Ox was seen then a Polar Bear lumbered into view across the water from us. Back on the ship, numerous Ivory Gulls and a flock of over 100 Red Knot completed our wildlife sightings for the morning - fantastic!

In the afternoon we coasted along towards Beechey Island but the further west we went, the further up the Beaufort scale the wind went. When we finally arrived it was too risky to attempt a landing so we remained on board, hoping for improved conditions. Visiting the Franklin Expedition graves was to be a highlight of the journey. It would be such a disappointment to miss them. Although the weather only got worse for quite awhile, eventurally the barometer started rising and the decision was made to remain at anchor overnight with the hope of a better day tomorrow. After dinner we witnessed a glorious sunset and could even see distant Cornwallis Island, 35 miles away.

The Adventure Continues

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