In January Anderson prepared reports and purchased specimens
of wolverines and muskoxen from visiting Inuit, Jenness continued to record details
of Inuit life, and all made preparations for winter trips. The survey parties
headed east again in March to search for muskoxen and to complete the studies
of the copper deposits around Bathurst Inlet. At Bernard Harbour, Jenness acquired
a large collection of representative utensils, tools,
weapons and clothing of the Copper Inuit through trading; as well, he recorded
many songs, and cultural traditions.
On 18 April the first snow bunting of the season flew around
Alaska, at Bernard Harbour, marking the end of her third winter in the
ice. All of the Expedition parties returned by early June. The police officers
returned with two prisoners to go to the Herschel Island Royal North West
Mounted Police (RNWMP) post on the Alaska. With the melt proceeding faster
than the previous year, several days of cutting and blasting allowed
Alaska to float free on 23 June.
Space was a real problem as there were twenty-seven people on the small schooner:
six scientists, a crew of three, two RNWMP officers, fourteen Inuit employees,
two Inuit prisoners, and 25 dogs. In addition to the expedition collections and
equipment, there was the Inuits' personal gear, stores for paying off Native employees,
and enough provisions for another wintering if ice conditions prevented them from
sailing to Nome. Sporting a bright new coat of paint, Alaska left Bernard Harbour
13 July 1916.
Alaska arrived at Herschel Island on 28 August. The
Native employees, Adam Ovayuak, Mike Siberia, and Manilenna, were paid
off, and the stores, equipment, and mail for the Northern Party were assembled
for sending north.
The Alaska was much less crowded when she left Herschel
Island, with only three crew members and six scientists on board. She encountered
heavy ice practically all the way from the international boundary to Point Barrow,
Alaska. They passed into the Bering Sea at the beginning of a heavy gale, on the
evening of 11 August.
Four rough days later, Alaska finally reached Nome
again. Although the weather was still bad, they were able to put the cargo ashore.
The Alaska was hauled up on the beach at Nome, in good shape except for
the engine and some minor leakage. The extensive collections made by the party
in geology, ethnology, biology, and photography, and the records of the Southern
Party, were thus landed safely at Nome. The 173 pieces of expedition freight and
the Southern Party scientists were back in Ottawa by October 1916, after almost
four years of gaining new knowledge of the Canadian north.