A Tale of Two Resolutions

This is a pre-travel posting that will hopefully help frame the way I think about the experience of spending two weeks on the JOIDES Resolution learning and developing instructional materials with a group of people with seemingly similar passions.  While I am thoroughly excited about the though of living in this community and learning/creativity aspects of the upcoming trip, I’m really excited by the fact that the JOIDES Resolution will be following in the 1778 wake of Cook’s HMS Resolution during his quest for the Northwest Passage.

The upcoming expedition departs from Victoria and will travel west towards IODP site 889 to install a Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kit (CORK) hydrologic observatory. One of our goals is to explain the mission of the expedition and the CORK system in an accessible manner for non-specialists, so more on that once the expedition begins!

In preparation for the trip I re-read the section on Vancouver and Alaska of Cook’s journal’s I read as a kid – I was more facinated by his travels in the South Pacific then and thought breadfruit must be the most magical fruit in the world, but then I tried it in Hawaii and was dissapointed by its similarity to sweet potatoes… But in graduate school I became more interested in the enduring quest for the Northwest Passage and continue to be fascinated with early Arctic exploration and although Cook is not as famous as the ill-fated Franklin Expedition, his tales are still quite entertaining.

Cook provides latitude and longitude coordinates in many of his journal entries and I used them to make a simple Google Earth reconstruction of his approximate locations during the months of March and April in 1778:


So although the ship is ‘slightly’ more advanced, the risk greatly reduced, and global communications will be at our finger tips, I’m still excited that we will be traveling the same waters Cook explored with Resolution version 1.0 approximately 230 years ago. I’m as anxious to begin as Cooke in an entry dated April 26th, 1778 (typos are accurate):

"The Marcury in the Barometer fell unusually low and we had every token of an approaching storm which we had reason to expect would be from the Southwad, so that I was was in some doubt as night was at hand, whether I should venture to put to sea or not, till the next Morning.  But the anxiety I was under of getting to Sea and the fear of loseing this oppertunity got the better of every other consideration and determined me to put to sea at all events"

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JOIDES Resolution