By James Delgado
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Additional info for Across the Top of the World. The Quest for the Northwest Passage
Spain's official policy of keeping its voyages of exploration secret shrouded the north Pacific coast in darkness and maintained the myth of the Strait of Anian. The silence that surrounded Spain's discoveries on the Pacific coast was filled with wild tales that were eagerly seized upon. One Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado claimed that he had sailed through the Strait of Anian, entering the Pacific in 1^88. The second account, amazingly enough, just may have been true. The story came from a secretive explorer, a Greek-born pilot named Apostolos Valerianos, or "Juan de Fuca," as he was known to his Spanish employer.
With a o 3o-mile-wide mouth, the "strait" reached far into the distance. Pushingo into the strait on August o i o, Gabriel explored what is now known as Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island. According to one contemporary account: 7 O J And that land uppon hys right hande, as hee sayled westward, he judged to bee the continente of Asia, and there to be devided from the firme of America, which lyeth uppon the lefte hande overagainst the same. This place he named after his name Frobishers Streytes, lyke as Magellanus at the Southweaste end of the worle, havyng discouvered the passage to the South Sea (where America is devided from the continente of that lande, which lyeth under the South Pole) and called the same straites Mapellanes Streightes.
Reasoningo that the O J Northwest Passage lay somewhere on the bay's western shore, Button scoured 600 miles of the coast between the Churchill and Nelson Rivers, but to no avail. " With winter comingo on,' he moored his ships near the mouth of the Nelson River, haulingO them upi against the riverbank and surO roundingo them with a barricade of earth and logs o for protection from the ice. The winter was hard, and many of his crew died of scurvy, includingo Resolution's master,' Robert Nelson. Button named the river for him.