Polar Pathways: Robert E. Peary's Arctic Expeditions

The White March- Independence Bay: A Toast of Brandy


navy cliff independence bay peary arctic 1891
Peary and Astrup fly flags at a carin

“As we took in this wide-spreading panorama from our point of vantage over three-fifths of a mile above the bay ice, I was surprised to hear the sound of a bumblebee. We soon caught sight of the insect, which lingered in our neighbourhood for some time. The flies that buzzed around us were all too numerous to count. The day was delightfully warm and calm… I opened the box containing my transit, and set it firmly among the rocks to make my observations for position… 81 37’ 5” north latitude and 34 5’ west longitude… I brought out the little flask of brandy which had been brought with us for use in case of sickness, and passing it to Astrup to take a thimbleful, I followed suit, and then christened the great bay spreading its white expanse before us Independence Bay, in honour of the date, July 4th.” - Robert E. Peary in Northward over the “Great Ice”, published in 1898

The Cairn to Commemorate the Journey

"The Stars and Stripes at Navy Cliff" 1891, National Archives

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