The first European to visit Beechey Island was British Captain William Parry in 1819. One of Parry’s lieutenants named it after his father, artist William Beechey. The Island has gone down in the annals of Arctic exploration during the search for famed Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, who vanished without a trace in 1846 while exploring a route through the Northwest Passage.
It was here at Beechey Island that Franklin’s ships spent the winter of 1845 frozen in ice awaiting Spring thaw. During that time three of Franklin’s men died and were buried on the island. There are few places on Earth that feel as barren and lonely as Beechey Island. Imagine a treeless, windswept landscape of gravel ridges and expansive beaches. In the distance small white crosses mark the final resting place for the young Englishmen, so far from home. Beyond the crosses, a polar bear with two cubs walk the shoreline unaware of the poignant reminder of the power of the Arctic. This is Beechey Island!