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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Arctic team begins epic journey
Dom Mee
Dom Mee and his team set off on Monday to retrace the Ross journey
A team of British explorers have set off on an Arctic expedition to retrace the steps of Victorian polar pioneers, Sir John Ross and Sir James Clark Ross.

Dom Mee, 33, is leading the seven strong crew, which includes a direct descendant of Sir James Clarke Ross.

The team plan to reach Thom Bay, where the Victorian explorers wintered and hope to find the remains of their ship, which has never been recovered.

Exercise Arctic Quest 1832, as it is called, will take one month.

North-West passage

In 1829 Sir John Ross, his nephew Sir James Clark Ross and 21 men set sail in the "Victory" to search for the fabled North-West Passage, a sea route linking the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean.

Although the expedition failed in this respect, other important discoveries were made.

During their pioneering voyage, they charted the lands of Boothia - and in 1831 Sir James discovered the position of the North Magnetic Pole .

After enduring three harsh Arctic winters, Sir John and his crew eventually abandoned their ice bound ship in 1832 and headed towards Baffin Bay.

The ice remained strong during 1832, and the crew had to spend another winter stranded in the wilderness. They were finally rescued a year later.

Locked in ice

Dom Mee, from Somerset, UK, and his team of five men and one woman, set off on Monday to retrace the Ross journey.

The group, which includes members of the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy, hope to explore an area of Nunavut, in Canada's Arctic, which has not been visited by a British expedition in over 172 years.

Nunavut, Noaa
The Victorian expedition's ship got stuck in the ice
Dom Mee attempted the expedition on his own last year, but had to abandon the mission just 35 miles short of his target, having been trapped in ice and attacked by a musk ox.

Before embarking on his latest trip he said: "We aim to return to the exact region visited by Sir John Ross.

"One of the team, Lieutenant Commander Mark Hankey is the great, great, grandson of Sir John Ross, so this will be a truly historic event."

Mr Mee and his crew will use a range of transportation, but primarily this will be a maritime expedition, covering an area of 180kms.

The team plans to visit the harbours of Thom Bay where Sir John Ross wintered - and they hope to discover parts of his ship, Victory, which may still be locked in ice.




SEE ALSO:
Explorer renews Arctic challenge
01 Jul 04  |  Somerset
Explorer displays Arctic finds
28 Nov 03  |  Somerset


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