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The Underwater Archaeology Search for Franklin's Lost Vessels: HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site

Past Expeditions

2011 Expedition - Meet Our Team

Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Service (UAS) will lead a third archaeological exploration to search for HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, off the coast of Nunavut, with anticipated dates of August 22-August 27, 2011. The first and second expeditions were conducted in August 2008 and August 2010.

Parks Canada provides underwater archaeology expertise to various levels of government and to non-government organizations, often working in collaboration with them, as it is the case of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror expedition. This Canadian-led expedition is a collaborative project among Parks Canada, Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS), the Canadian Coast Guard, the Government of Nunavut, the University of Victoria Ocean Technology Laboratory, and the Canadian Ice Service. The partnership combines a breadth of expertise which will inevitably provide new information and add to the body of research on the fate of these ships. If found, all future archaeological excavations will again be led by Parks Canada.

The expedition is staged from CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, a Canadian Coast Guard ice-breaker. The search area falls within uncharted waters and the CHS will provide surveying expertise and technology to help map the area of interest and nearby routes for navigational charts. Information gathered during the search will contribute to improving the charts and subsequent navigation of the Canadian Arctic.

Canadian Coast Guard

Stuart Aldridge Capitain Stuart Aldridge
© Parks Canada

CAPTAIN STUART ALDRIDGE, CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, a graduate of the Canadian Coast Guard College class of 1986, began his seafaring career in the Pacific Region as a Navigation Officer both on the British Columbia coast and the Arctic.

Since 1998, Captain Aldridge has commanded ships such as CCGS Tanu, CCGS W.E. Ricker, CCGS Vector and CCGS Bartlett, at the helm of important missions including search and rescue, conservation and protection, oceanographic and fisheries research, hydrographic surveying and servicing navigational aids.

Captain Aldridge was appointed Commanding Officer of CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier in June of 2011. He is responsible for all aspects of safe navigation and efficient operation of the vessel and her crew. Captain Aldridge will be the Commanding Officer on duty during this summer’s search for Franklin’s lost ships.

Canadian Hydrographic Service

Andrew Layzack Andrew Leyzack
© Parks Canada

ANDREW LEYZACK is a graduate of Humber College's Hydrographic and Land Survey Technologist program. Andrew has been surveying for over 24 years, with varied experience in topographic, cadastral, offshore/industrial and hydrographic surveys for nautical charting. He is a Commissioned Canada Lands Surveyor, employed as an Engineering Project Supervisor with the Canadian Hydrographic Service, Central and Arctic Region, Bayfield Institute, Burlington, ON. He is presently serving as Hydrographer-in-Charge of Western Arctic Surveys, Kitikmeot Region but to his children he is "away working on the big red-and-white boat."

In addition to supporting Parks Canada's search program he is leading hydrographic surveys in one of the most poorly charted areas of the Arctic. The Kitikmeot Region as it is known has over the past decade experienced measurable increase in community growth, resource extraction and vessel traffic (deep sea cargo ships, passenger liners and private yachts). The current trend in ice conditions has had an positive influence on the volume of vessel traffic, particularly smaller craft. The waters in this part of the Western Arctic are generally shallower than those of the Eastern Arctic and often vessels are looking for alternative routes around the ice edge when it is present. His work has been focused on widening the existing routes, carving out new alternate routes for ice avoidance and preparing large scale charts for the various communities. Additionally many of the existing charts are inaccurate and incompatible with modern GPS navigation. Current charting, particularly that which covers the "search area", shows more empty space than soundings. Fortunately for the program, this year our supporting platform, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier, will be able to anchor closer to the search area by way of a previously charted corridor jutting east out from the shipping lanes into the uncharted waters of the search area. As in previous years, the work can be likened to cutting a new road through a wilderness where there is little or no indication of the topography or what's around the bend.

Glenn McDonald Glenn Macdonald
© Parks Canada

GLENN MACDONALD is a multi-disciplinary hydrographer with the Canadian Hydrographic Service. Presently, his hydrographic work focuses on tides, currents and water levels. Glenn was part of the Canadian Hydrographic Service group that teamed up with Parks Canada on the 2008 archaeological survey to search for the Franklin vessels. Outside of work, Glenn is a singer/songwriter and his songwriting practice is increasingly influenced by the history, geography, and people of the Arctic. Glenn has a wife and three children.

Glenn Toldi Glenn Toldi
© Parks Canada

GLENN TOLDI was born in Burlington, Ontario. Glenn completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Geography and Biology at Trent University in 1992 then studied at Sir Sanford Fleming College (School of Natural Resources) where he earned a diploma in Cartography/GIS Technology in 1994. A fascinating opportunity to live in and travel throughout Australia afforded Glenn valuable work experience. He worked as a Cartographic technician for Cartodraft .Ltd in Sydney Australia in 1995.

Upon his return to Canada in 1996, he secured a position with The Canadian Hydrographic Service as a Hydrographer. Glenn has subsequently settled in Smithville, Ontario with his wife and two boys. He has been an avid yearly participant in Arctic surveys since before his oldest son was born.

Working as a Hydrographer since 1997 with The Canadian Hydrographic Service, he has taken part in many Hydrographic surveys throughout the Canadian Arctic and across the Great Lakes. His experience with Hydrographic surveys includes single beam, side scan and multibeam sonar operations and data processing. Glenn also creates Electronic Navigational Charts and Nautical Paper Charts based out of Canada’s Center for Inland Waters in Burlington Ontario. Recently, Glenn was part of the Hydrographic group which teamed with Parks Canada on the 2008 archaeological survey to search for the Franklin vessels. Glenn worked from 2008-2010 aboard the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier as data processor during Arctic surveys and will continue in this role throughout the 2011 summer.

© Parks Canada

ARTHUR WICKENS was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. He began working with the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) in 2002 at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO), Maritime Region. He moved to Ontario in 2009 where he continued working for the CHS at the Bayfield Institute, Central and Arctic Region. During his time with the CHS he has been involved in various surveys across Canada, from the Northwest Arctic to the Atlantic Coast and as well as the Great Lakes. Arthur has also been involved with updating and production of electronic navigational charts (ENC) and paper chart equivalent. For the summer of 2011he will be involved in a joint Arctic Survey program working directly with Parks Canada archaeologists aboard the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier as a hydrographer, where his primary responsibilty will be multibeam sonar data collection.

University Of Victoria, Ocean Technology Laboratory

Alison Proctor Alison Proctor
© Parks Canada
ALISON PROCTOR grew up in British Columbia and started her underwater adventures by becoming a certified diver at 17 and working as a diving instructor until 1997. In 2001, she obtained a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry Riddle Aeronautical School in Daytona Beach, Florida and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. While at Georgia Tech, Alison worked extensively with unmanned aerial vehicles, specializing in flight dynamics and autonomous control systems.

In 2005, Alison returned to Canada working as a research engineer on underwater vehicles under the direction of Dr. Colin Bradley at the University of Victoria (UVic). While at UVic, Alison gained experience as a Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle (ROV) pilot working with the Saab Sea Eye Falcon ROV. Since 2010, Alison has been working extensively with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) helping to develop an AUV research program at UVic.

Currently a Research Engineer with UVic’s Ocean Technology Laboratory, Alison is part of the team of people at UVic working to assist Parks Canada in using AUV technology in their underwater archeological surveys. In 2011, she will participate in the surveys as an ROV pilot.

Parks Canada

Ryan Harris Ryan Harris
© Parks Canada

RYAN HARRIS was born in Calgary, Alberta. Ryan completed his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at the University of Toronto. He then studied at East Carolina University, in Greenville North Carolina, where he graduated with his Masters in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology. Working as an underwater archaeologist with Parks Canada since 1999, he took part in more than 50 underwater archaeology projects throughout his career, including the War of 1812 shipwrecks Hamilton and Scourge, an American PBY-5A airplane in Longue-Pointe-de Mingan (Québec), RMS Empress of Ireland (1914) (Québec), 16th-century whaling vessels in Red Bay (Newfoundland and Labrador), the 18th-century French shipwrecks of the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site (Nova Scotia) and of the Battle of the Restigouche National Historic Site (Québec). His professional fields of research include historic ship architecture and remote-sensing applications to archaeological surveys. He has been actively involved in surveys all across Canada, from L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site (Newfoundland and Labrador) to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site (British Columbia), and from Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park (Quebec), to the Rideau Canal and Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Sites (Ontario). He has also participated in underwater archaeology projects in the United States and in Bermuda. More recently, Ryan led the archaeology work that located the wreck of HMS Investigator off the shores of Aulavik National Park in Mercy Bay, in July 2010. He again returned to the site in July 2011 to dive the wreck to conduct a systematic survey of the vessel. In 2008 and 2010, Ryan led the remote-sensing operations of the archaeological survey to search for the Franklin vessels. He will continue this role during the 2011 survey season.

Jonathan Moore Jonathan Moore
© Parks Canada

JONATHAN MOORE was born in Banbury, England, and moved to Kingston, Canada with his family at the age of five. He studied classical studies and archaeology at Queen’s University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in 1991. While at university he learned to dive and began his involvement in underwater archaeology. He went on to complete a Master’s degree in Maritime Studies at the University of St. Andrews, and began his professional career in underwater archaeology in England and Scotland shortly thereafter.

He returned to Canada in 1994 and that year began working with Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Service. He has worked on over 50 underwater archaeology projects across Canada on a range of subjects and topics, from historic shipwrecks to submerged prehistoric landscapes and sites. He has directed underwater surveys at a range of sites including, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador), Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada (Ontario) and Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site (British Columbia). He recently directed a 2007-2009 archaeological study of the United States Navy shipwrecks Hamilton and Scourge sunk in 90 meters (300 feet) of water in Lake Ontario in 1813. His professional areas of research and interest include War of 1812 shipwrecks, ship abandonment, submerged palaeo-landscapes, the effects of invasive mussel species on underwater cultural resources, archival research and local history. More recently, Jonathan was a part of the archaeology team that located the wreck of HMS Investigator off the shores of Aulavik National Park in Mercy Bay, in July 2010. He again returned to the site in July 2011 to dive the wreck to conduct a systematic survey of the vessel. Jonathan was part of the Parks Canada team during the 2008 and 2010 archaeological surveys to search for the Franklin vessels, and will again participate in the 2011 season.

Contributing Researcher

Canadian Ice Service

Thomas Zagon Thomas Zagon
© Parks Canada

THOMAS ZAGON started his career working in aerial photography in Edmonton and Calgary before obtaining a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Honours Geography) from the University of Waterloo. After graduating in 1995, he joined the Research and Development section of Canarctic Shipping, working mostly on the shipboard use of satellite imagery for ice navigation at a time when the company was transitioning from airborne radar imagery to space based radar for tactical support of shipping in the High Arctic.

The company eventually became Enfotec, part of the Fednav Group, and he continued work on navigation support systems for vessels operating in ice covered waters. The bulk of the work involved providing operational support to commercial shipping in the northern hemisphere and to research icebreakers in Antarctic waters. The balance was spent working on shipping feasibility studies using historical satellite imagery in support of future operations where sea ice is present in the access.

Tom joined Environment Canada in February 2008 as an ice analyst with the Canadian Ice Service (CIS) and has also worked for a year in the Ministerial Services Unit of the Meteorological Service of Canada. Presently he’s with the Applied Science Section of CIS. He is married to Barbara and has a son Michael.

In support of the Arctic Survey, an examination of historical satellite imagery has allowed for a detailed understanding of the ice environment in the region where the Erebus and Terror became beset and were eventually abandoned. Working with Parks Canada, the incorporation of ice information allows for a reassessment of the historical evidence and a reappraisal of probabilities for the different scenarios pertaining to the loss of the vessels.