Shipwrecked in the Arctic

by L. D. Cross

Book Cover: The Luck of the Karluk
ISBN: 9781772030204
ISBN: 1772030201
ISBN: 978-1772030204

In the summer of 1913 when the distinguished scholars and scientists of Canada’s First Arctic Expedition set out from Victoria aboard their flagship HMCS Karluk, an old whaler powered by sail and steam, loaded with provisions, dogs and a cat it was a moment of great optimism.

Under the divided leadership of Dr. Rudolph Anderson, academic and polar zoologist, and Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Arctic explorer and ethnologist, their three-year mission would chart unexplored landmasses of the Western Arctic and secure Canada a prominent position in the international geographic community. But it was not to be. Just a few months into their journey, the vessel became lodged in heavy ice, eventually sinking near the coast of Siberia.

With little northern polar experience among them but ample supplies salvaged from the wreck, the group of castaways were dependent on veteran Captain James Bartlett. On an epic quest for dry land and rescue they headed over drift ice and open water for desolate Wrangel Island. Meanwhile Bartlett and Inuk guide Kataktovik embarked on an heroic 1,100-kilometre trek along the cold Siberian coast in search of help and a ship back to America. By the end of the fifteen-month saga, eleven members of the original expedition would perish from frostbite and sickness, while the remaining twenty would survive to tell their tale. The Luck of the Karluk is a fascinating story about an important episode in Canada’s history and a revealing study of the strengths and weaknesses of human nature under treacherous conditions.

Publisher: Heritage House Publishing
Reviews:David A. James, Alaska Dispatch News wrote:

"Drawing off journals and accounts of the survivors, Cross offers an engrossing story. A smattering of photographs is also included. A longer telling might have been appreciated, but the brevity and style make it suitable for young adult readers. The Luck of the Karluk makes clear that this story deserves inclusion among the epics of Arctic calamities."

About the Author

L.D. Cross is an Ottawa non-fiction writer of lifestyle articles, op-ed features and, books in the Amazing Stories series about unique aspects of Canadian history. Topics range from Canada’s Arctic diamonds, a secret ship made of ice, bush pilot pioneers, Cold War spy Igor Gouzenko, and Ottawa’s early entrepreneurs. She has received awards of excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for features and editorial writing, the U.S. National Mature Media for articles about seniors, and the Ontario Historical Society inaugural Huguenot Society of Canada prize for “a publication illustrating principles of freedom of conscience and thought” for her book The Underground Railroad: the Long Journey to Freedom in Canada.

L. D. Cross, Writer (