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John Hornby and I made two exploratory trips in 1923. The first to the headwaters of the Little Smoky River, a tributary of the Athabasca; the second to the Columbia Icefield. Our objective was to trace the source of the alluvial gold in the Saskatchewan River. The following [7] photographs were taken during the expedition to the Columbia Icefield. We started from Nordegg, Alberta.
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In the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
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Mountains en route.
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Almost in sight of our goal. Heavy snow and lack of food forced us to beat a retreat. Game was very scarce, and we had to carry our entire belongings on our backs.
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John Hornby [1923].
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Captain Bullock showing signs of hardship [hand coloured].
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One of our camps in the Rocky mountains.
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Hornby in camp on a hill side at 7,000 feet.
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Myself on the Clearwater - Mt. Coleman expedition 1923.
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[On their way to the Barren Lands 1924]. B.C. Mounted Police Post, Fort Fitzgerald, Alta.
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R.C.M.P. sled dog pups, Fort Fitzgerald.
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R.C.M.P. sled dogs, Fort Fitzgerald.
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Charles Cooper and his car on the 16 mile portage from Fort Fitzgerald to Fort Smith. Athabasca and Slave Rivers, 1924. The only car within hundreds of miles!
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Fort Smith, N.W.T. Looking South towards the portage rapids.
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Looking down river from Fort Smith, N.W.T. R. to L. Buckley, Allan Stewart, myself, Al Greathouse. My two canoes prior to leaving alone for Fort Resolution, Gt. Slave Lake. [Bullock's canoe was christened YVONNE. Horby's MATONABBEE.]
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Myself at Fort Fitzgerald. Aged 26. [1924]
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There is a rare heronry on an island among the rapids between Fitzgerald and Smith. This is a young [pelican?] bird floating down the Slave River after leaving its nest.
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Indians [?] at Fort Resolution, Gt. Slave Lake, N.W.T. Hornby photo.
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Indians [?] at Resolution. Hornby photo.
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Old Indian at Resolution. Hornby photo.
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My two canoes tied to a scow near Fort Resolution, Slave River.
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Luscious fruit growing on Stoney Island, Gt. Slave Lake. Wild gooseberries.
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Wild currants.
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Wild gooseberry bush.
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Crossing Gt. Slave Lake in one of the scows. Towing a canoe containing sled dogs.
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Cliffs, Gt. Slave Lake.
camp reliance
Our camp, opposite Old Fort Reliance, East end of Great Slave Lake, i.e. opposite mouth of Lockhart River.
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As before, also building base cache.
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A lake on Pike’s Portage.
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35mm Hornby and dogs.
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Going North. Warburton Pike’s lob stick at north end of Pike’s Portage (i.e. S. end of Artillery Lake). Warburton Pike discovered the portage route North from Gt. Slave Lake.
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Sousie Benjamin (centre) and his son (right) at Hornby’s cabin, Artillery Lake. Hornby photo.
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Indian & Hornby’s cabin, Artillery Lake. Hornby photo.
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Our outfit on Artillery Lake. Getting ready to camp. Hornby errect, Malcolm Stewart bending over, Buckley seated.
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Foul weather. Camped Artillery Lake. September. Hornby admiring the scenery!
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Hornby & large caribou head, Artillery Lake.
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A Rough-Legged Hawk flying over the Barren Lands in September.
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The Stewarts’ cabin, near Artillery Lake. This they abandoned, and went South, due to severity of the climate.
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Artillery Lake freezing up. Photo taken from the esker in which we dug our winter home. View looking East towards mouth of Casba River. Join with next photo to make complete panorama.
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Ditto. View looking South.
Artillery Lake panorama view
[Panorama stitched together.]
Artillery Lake panorama view combined and annotated DSC03895
Willow ptarmigan starting to bleach out in September. Good camouflage.
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Artillery Lake. Weather getting mean. About 4 degrees below zero.
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Caribou track in the glacial gravel on Barren Lands Esker.
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“Establishing” for the winter. We chose a sandhill (esker) and dug a hole into which we put our tent. We lived like this for a while, and hunted.
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We removed the tent and made a roof over the hole. This was our house, measuring 10’ x 7’.
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Snow soon covered the house.
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View of “house” from the rear. Nothing to be seen except the oddments lying about.
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The dog "Porky". They slept outside in all weathers. The temperatures dropped to 72 degrees below zero.
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Dog "Whitey".
Bullock's will typescript 3
Bullock's will written after Christmas Day 1924 "The most unpleasant day of that long winter for me." Written before he set off into a blizzard that had been raging for days to seek refuge in the Stewart brothers' camp. About to freeze to death if he wouldn't do something.
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This was the esker. With a magnifying glass it is possible to see the site of our house – dead centre of negative.
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Our canoes became snowed up. To dig them out in the Spring we had to cut the rock like snow with axes.
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Another view of our house. Chimney on the left; entrance on the right.
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Hornby and the dogs on the frozen lake below the esker. See the smoke coming from our chimney on top of the esker.
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There was a danger of freezing to death. Our only fuel in the Barren Lands consisted of dwarf spruce like this.
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Ditto. We searched hundreds of square miles for “discoveries” like this.
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Or like this.
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And this!
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This is what our fuel supply looked like after the snow had gone. This lot weighed about [?] lbs.
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A view of the Barren Lands from the esker. Bleak and cold!
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Snow scene.
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The top of the esker after a blizzard. The ridge blown clear of snow.
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Ditto. Showing the grass of the Barren Lands.
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These are two bull caribou heads skinned for mounting. They are inside out and drying in the wind.
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April 1st 1925. The R.C.M. Police visited us in the spring, stayed in house and left for the South. Their dog teams, & Constable Baker.
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L. to R.: Self, Corporal Hawkins, Malcolm Stewart, & John Hornby.
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The R.C. Mounted Policemen Corporal Hawkins and Constable Baker and some of their dogs. They were brought up by some Indian dog mushers.
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This was my “bed” in the “house”.
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[Sketch from Bullock's diary]
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[Sketch from Bullock's diary]
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This was the snow tunnel leading to the house.
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This was an offshoot of the snow tunnel, used for storage.
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In the Spring when we had a thaw, things got messy. Note the caribou
heads, and snow shoes.
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We tore the house down for fuel. For sanitary reason we burned the rest.
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Photo taken from the ice of the lake, showing our house on the hill burning.
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Spring camp. We moved into a tent.
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Our dogs thought the sun was hot, so lay on the snow.
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Ditto.
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Hornby worked on some of our pelts. He is scraping a wolverine hide. Note the white wolf against the canoe bottom. It is frozen and thawing out for skinning. We axed off its feet (when dead) to fit the sled.
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Self portrait taken from Bullock's diary.
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Hornby and a sled load leaving camp on the commencement of our journey to Hudson’s Bay, and the search for musk-oxen.
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Our camp in unexplored country 10 days later.
Critchell Bullock diary 002
James Tyrrell's map sheet they took along.
JCCB Arm
Critchell Bullock Arm: 63°26'13.6"N 106°59'51.2"W OR: doctor.geeky.unbearably ON https://map.what3words.com
Critchell Bullock diary 003 Critchell Bullock diary 004 Critchell Bullock diary 005 Bullock00003
We had lost two of our dogs. It was heavy work with more than 1 ½ tons on the sled.
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Then a blizzard came and forced us to camp until our food ran out.
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A thaw set in and marooned us. Late June Camp.
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Sifton Lake N.W.T. View from the esker. This is what the Barren Lands looked like in late June. Slush ice and bare hills. Very difficult for travelling with either canoe or dog sled! [Panorama stitched together]
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Another view of the Barren Lands in May. We were starving by now.
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This is how we travelled. Hornby, canoe and dogs.
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“Ferrying” a sled load from land to the lake ice.
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Hornby launching the canoes in May, after portaging everything overland for three miles on our backs.
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Hornby lets the dogs go ashore.
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The ice at last started to “go out” in mid-June. This would leave the lakes and rivers clear for canoe travel.
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As previous picture.
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Hornby cracking old caribou leg bones for the marrow in them. Did it stink!
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We build a cairn on Campbell Lake where we dumped all our scientific equipment, worth £3,000.
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On a small island in the middle of Hanbury River we dumped 10,000 feet of unused motion picture film, and a £1000 movie camera. We were too starved to carry it.
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June. At last I shot an old bull caribou. But it was diseased. We ate it and thankfully.
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Hornby did some fishing in the Hanbury River, but without success.
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I also did some fishing, but with rather less primitive equipment. I was very weak at the time from starvation.
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Equipment. My shoes (snow shoes).
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My battery. L. to R. 303 sporting Lee Enfield, 410 Collecting gun, 280 Ross High velocity, 22 Remington repeater.
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One of our camps on Hanbury River. July.
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The post carved and erected by the two men who were later murdered by Eskimos. Written on the back of the photograph ‘The last record of Messrs. Radford and Street, murdered by Eskimos at Coronation Gulf. These men were our immediate predecessors in the country.’
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The Barren Lands black flies and mosquitos were now out in their myriads, so we had to live in smoke.
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My photographic dark room at the river side.
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I turned round just after taking the preceding photo, and saw a caribou swimming across the river.
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The caribou waded out. Hornby grabbed a rifle and shot him. The first good meat for two months.
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While on the all-important subject of caribou, let it be said that a working white man eats 8 to 10 lbs of this meat when living on straight meat exclusively. A dog eats 5 lbs. This takes a lot of hunting. The following pictures are of caribou seen before we started to starve.
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As proceeding photo. The faulty photographs have been kept only because they are rare.
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Ditto.
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Caribou in early spring. Ditto. A photograph such as this, for instance, had never previously come out of the Barren Lands, 400,000 miles in extend. Travellers had never previously wintered in their interior, only around the edges.
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Caribou in June.
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Caribou in April or May.
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Many of these photographs were ruined in flooded canoes and sleds by rain and thawing snow. Alas. Caribou in June.
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As previous pictures. Barren Ground Caribou (Rangifer Arcticus).
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As previous picture.
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A good study of bull caribou travelling on the spring ice.
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Caribou on the ice.
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The Barren Ground caribou is the only species of deer having antlers in the female. All these heads (with the exception of the nearest one) is of a cow caribou. The other head is of a yearling bull caribou. The caribou is a survivor of pre-glacial mammalogy.
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Same as the preceding photograph. The yearling buck head is on the left.
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Enlargement from a movie still. Malcolm Stewart with a caribou that he had been butchering. Dog sled at rear. Photograph taken in March.
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More caribou.
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As we travelled down Hanbury River the country became a little less desolate.
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We even came across quite a tree. We could have a real fire at last!
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Rapids on Hanbury River.
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Rock formation on the river bank.
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More Rapids on Hanbury River.
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White water on Hanbury River. This is a stiff canoe route from Great Slave Lake to Hudson’s Bay. We were not its pioneers. Three parties had preceded us since it was discovered.
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Caribou grazing near our camp, in late June.
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One of the best balanced caribou (Rangifer Arcticus) heads ever seen. In velvet. Hornby photo.
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A lonely caribou calf, having lost its mother travels along the river’s edge.
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There is rough country along the Hanbury. Dickson Canyon is impassable by canoe. One must portage around it.
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Gage Falls - Dickson Canyon [Bullock's naming with reference to his dear friend "Yvonne Gage"].
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The start of Dickson Canyon on Hanbury River.
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Half way down the canyon.
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Dickson Canyon - 2.5 miles portage.
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Trout and suckers. Fish from half way down Dickson Canyon.
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The foot of the Dickson Canyon.
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Thelon River Trout.
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While on the subject of fish. These, called “Inconnu” are weighing about 20 lb. each were caught by us in Great Slave Lake.
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A trout and a whitefish. Hornby wearing a much run-down International blazer and looking pretty rough. He has Indian Moccasins on his feet.
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The last-but-one falls on Hanbury River (see next photograph).
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Same as previous picture. At this point we ran into timbered country – a phenomenal growth in the heart of the Barren Lands which extends from this point for several miles down the Thelon River.
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“Traling” canoes in the Hanbury River.
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The last falls on Hanbury River. It was on the opposite bank at midnight, in late June that we saw the first musk oxen. They had not been seen by man for a quarter of a century and were thought extinct in central Arctic Canada.
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Muskox camp. Our tent in centre of picture. At MacDonald Falls.
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This is the white faced musk oxen (Ovibos Moschatus) of the Arctic Archipelago and Greenland. The species is still fairly numerous in those latitudes. Not my photographs.
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The next photographs were officially considered to be the rarest ever taken in Arctic Canada. Only one Black-faced Muskox (Ovibos Moschatus Moschatus) had ever previously been photographed and in it the animal was barely recognisable. I believe I am correct in saying that the following photographs have never been improved upon, as the animal has not since been seen in such numbers or so close. The species may now be very near extinction.
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Same as before. The only known pictures of a muskox fording a river, or wading. Bull muskox.
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This photo was taken at 11 pm. At eleven o’clock one night we saw a large bull muskox across the Thelon River moving East.
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Next morning at 3 am we saw him returning with his mate. Photo taken at 3 am.
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When out in his canoe Hornby thought he saw a muskox moving about.
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We both went in search and soon found one lying down. His back is visible in the centre of the photograph.
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Two (a bull and a cow) suddenly got up.
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The cow muskox made off, leaving the bull to guard her retreat.
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Eventually the bull made off, too.
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As before.
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As we floated down river in our canoes we saw other musk oxen.
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As before.
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As before.
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Same
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View of Thelon River. The clump of trees [?] in which John Hornby and his
companions eventually starved to death.
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Wolves. The wolf is numerous in the Barren Lands. We never found them dangerous. They grew to a great size – weighing 115 lb. These are wolf pups in their den.
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Hornby tried to keep them alive, without success.
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Hornby forcibly feeding wolf pups.
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We trapped 87 during the winter of 1924-25. This large white specimen is in a trap. Photograph taken in March.
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Same wolf as in preceding photo.
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Some of the wolves we trapped.
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A frozen white wolf compared with our largest sled dog.
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A mangy wolf bitch that followed us like a starving dog for three days. Poor beast, it was hoping that we would leave her something to eat, being too ill to hunt for herself.
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Birds. There is much bird life in the Barren Lands from spring to autumn. Male Rough-legged Hawk.
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Rough-legged Hawk’s nest.
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Site of rough-legged hawk’s nest. Top of cliff in the centre.
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Peregrine Falcon’s nest.
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Site of Peregrine Falcon’s nest (as ringed on negative). Correct name for this bird in Canada, Duck Hawk.
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Savannah sparrow feeding (Ringed in pencil).
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Horned Lark and Lapland Longspur.
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One of the fierce Arctic Terns swooping down to the attack. This photo goes with the other one, called “Fighting Arctic Terns.” These birds fiercely protect their nesting grounds. They actually pecked the flesh from our faces, and we had to ward off their attacks with our rifle butts.
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The Arctic Tern – reputedly the longest migrator of all birds – attacked us savagely when we crossed their nesting grounds. They actually pecked holes in my face! Hornby protecting himself with rifle.
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Arctic terns. Their crops were full of spiders.
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Arctic tern’s nest.
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The semipalmated plover. Male bird guarding nest. Photo taken at 2 feet!
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Ditto. Distracting me from the nest.
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Semipalmated plover.
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The bird 8 feet away.
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Female bird on the nest.
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Typical nesting site of semipalmated plover.
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Nest of the semipalmated plover.
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Horned Lark. Male bird guarding nest.
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Horned Lark. Nest and eggs.
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Horned Lark. Nest and young.
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Savannah Sparrow. None of these photographs was taken with a telephoto lens. Neither was there any cover. The birds were brave or tame.
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Lapland Longspur.
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Lapland Longspur.
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Lapland Longspur nest.
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Herring gull’s nest. The herring gull helped to keep us alive on many occasions. He was very good eating.
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Site of herring gull’s nest.
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The snow bunting.
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White-fronted goose. The nesting place of this bird in the Barren Lands was unknown. We found no nests but collected a brood of newly hatched goslings on Hanbury River.
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Short-tailed Jaeger.
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Short-billed gull. Discovery of this bird on Thelon River created an Easterly record for its known habitat.
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The nest of the yellow-billed Loon. The discovery of several nests of this bird created great interest in Ottawa when we returned. The Soviet Union asked us for some of our eggs. All our collections were presented free to the National Museum of Canada.
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Close-up of Yellow-billed Loon’s nest.
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Yellow-billed Loon’s eggs (showing difference in size in same nest) on a winter caribou hide.
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Yellow-billed Loon.
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Yellow-billed Loon.
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Red-throated Loon’s nest.
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Close-up of Red-throated Loon’s nest.
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Site of Red-throated Loon’s nest.
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Red-throated Loon.
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Baird’s Sandpiper.
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The only swan seen on the journey down the Thelon River. Site chosen for our return. Near where Hornby starved to death.
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Brood of Old Squaw Ducks.
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Pair of juvenile Arctic Loons.
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Flora of the Barren Lands. In summer the Arctic Prairies are a mass of flowers, butterflies, black flies and mosquitos. Not such a good combination! Unidentified flower.
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Unidentified fern.
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A common bush seen growing in white sand. Has a leaf like Edelweiss.
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Unidentified flower.
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Barren Grounds caribou. It has been variously estimated that there are from 10,000,000 to 30,000,000 head of caribou in Arctic Canada. Twice a year they move across the land in great migrations. We saw this colossal sight, but our photographs were ruined by swamping in a rapid. The three that follow actually contain thousands of caribou, but are almost impossible to “decipher”.
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As before. One herd can be seen in the water on the far side of the river.
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As before.
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As before.
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The Arctic (or White) Fox. The country we visited was full of them. Hornby and I trapped about 150 between us. Our men farther south trapped many more. Enlargements from move film of some of the catch.
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The white fox is caught by putting down the carcases of caribou (from which the best meat has been butchered) and setting traps around them. Trap sites.
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White fox. Note bleeding mouth from biting trap.
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White fox carcasses after skinning.
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Dissected white fox carcass. Usually these animals were very fat, like this one. The fat was oily, and we used it as lamp oil.
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The white fox was usually the home of unpleasant parasites. These worms
are from a fox’s intestines.
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The last of the timber on Thelon River. Then for some hundreds of miles we were back in the Barren Lands proper, using moss for fuel and finding ourselves starving off and on.
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We discovered this river along our route. It was about the size of the Thames at Henley. Hornby named it Critchell Bullock River, but we did not have time to chart its course, so it is included in no map yet!
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A very primitive sled found near the Thelon River.
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"Starvation camp" - Limestone beds & cliff. Thelon River.
Camp (Book 3, 15) photograph
Camp on the middle Thelon River. The weather was hot & we slept under mosquito nets only. The foreground is speckled with wild flowers.
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An unidentified fossil in the aforementioned limestone formation.
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The last rapids [Aleksektok] on Thelon River before entering Chesterfield inlet.
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"Inland" Eskimos visited us at Beverly Lake. We were getting near an outpost of civilisation.
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The Eskimos looked more civilised than we did.
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Capt. J.C. Critchell Bullock, Chesterfield Inlet, Northwest Territories, 1925.
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On the Hanbury River. [Compare with diary entry June 25th,1925, book page 140.]
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The late John Hornby (Harrow School) at Fort Resolution, N.W.T., 1924. "The hermit of the arctic".
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The Trading Post of The Hudson’s Bay Company and Révillon Frères, Chesterfield Inlet, N.W.T. We had travelled by now 1548 miles by canoe and dog sled direct. We had travelled a further 920 miles on side trips. 2468 miles.
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During our short stay at Baker Lake I stayed at this establishment. It seemed tremendously luxurious. I had my first bath in 14 months.
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My host was Monsieur Heller, a most charming man.
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This Eskimo woman kept house for the manager of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s establishment – a hulking uncouth yellow-haired sod.
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The Eskimo woman had a yellow-haired child. She also had tuberculosis.
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Whaler at Baker Lake.
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Whale boat under sail by Eskimos.
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We crossed Hudson’s Bay from Chesterfield Inlet to Port Harrison in the 70 foot schooner “Jean Revillon”.
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Port Harrison, Hudson’s Bay. A Hudson’s Bay Company’s trading post where Robert J. Flaherty had filmed ‘Nanook of the North’ three years previously.
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Port Harrison. The Hudson Bay Co.’s factor (centre) and his two assistants.
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Maggie Nuraklootuk. The heroine in Robt. J. Flaherty’s film “Nanook of the North”, and his son, Barney. At this time Nuraklootuk was crippled with a badly set fractured thigh. Nobody cared. I cursed the [Governor?] of the Hudson’s Bay Company in person later, but doubt that anything was done.
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Hudson’s Bay Co.’s local schooner "King George".
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The women turned to unload the schooner.
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Hornby was always very chivalrous with women, and when he saw the wife of Nanook (then dead) carrying heavy loads, he chipped in and help her. Stout chap!
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Factors and Eskimos, Port Harrison.
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Nuraklootuk’s foster mother. Tanning caribou hides.
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Canada geese at Port Harrison.
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The Eskimo cemetery where Nanook lies.
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Nanook’s grave.
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We pushed on, by steamer, to Lake Harbour, Baffin Island, to the northward of Hudson’s Bay.
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Baffin Island is a bleak, rugged land.
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Loading bales of fur at Lake Harbour for HBCO.
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Eskimo children at Lake Harbour.
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Eskimo children, Lake Harbour, Baffin Island.
Eskimo gruppe final nach LR DSC04381
Eskimo, Baffin Island.
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Kayaks, Baffin Island.
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Kayak, Baffin Island.
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Eskimo in kayak, Baffin Island.
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Off the Labrador Coast on our way home. 250 miles from land. Unidentified land bird. Very lonely and sorry for itself!
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One of the last pictures ever taken of Hornby, if not the last. Peeling potatoes for the cook of the steamship “Peveril” on Hudson Bay.
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