RV David Thompson Departs Victoria for Erebus and Terror Wreck Sites

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August 9, 2018 – RV David Thompson, has left Victoria on a journey of research, archaeology, and science on the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic oceans.

The voyage of RV David Thompson will occur over three legs: journeying along the Pacific Coast and through the Northwest Passage; spending approximately three weeks in Nunavut investigating the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror; and then travelling eastward to the Atlantic before finally travelling up the St. Lawrence River to spend the winter in the Great Lakes.

Along the route, Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team will be collecting data on topics like climate change and pollution. They will also be undertaking archaeological work in national parks and historic sites including Sirmilik National Park, and Kekerten Island Whaling Station National Historic Site. Finally, they will meet and share their experiences with Inuit communities at various ports of call.

RV David Thompson will serve as the main operational platform for the continued investigation of the wrecks of the 1845 Franklin Expedition later this summer. Parks Canada’s upcoming exploration of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, with its Inuit partners, will be one of the largest and most important underwater archeological undertakings in Canadian history. Parks Canada believes there are potentially thousands of artifacts remaining on the wrecks that will help unveil more of the Franklin story.

RV David Thompson is equipped with a range of state-of-the-art archaeological and oceanographic survey equipment, including: multi-beam echosounder, side-scan sonar, remotely operated vehicles, an autonomous underwater vehicle, and can deploy diving teams. In the coming years, the ship will also support inter-departmental collaborations related to marine environments and climate change.

Photo by Brandy Lockhart/Parks Canada