Martin Frobisher: Great Explorer or Greatest Explorer?

If we’re not smiling, it’s because we ran out of bourbon two ice storms ago

You know what’s hard to do? Find the stupid Northwest Passage.

Of course looking back to the summer of 1561, I didn’t know that. I was a headstrong youth, wanting to make sure the Frobisher name went down in history like that of Columbus or Judas. I wanted to make sure that whenever anyone thought of children’s aquatic games, they immediately thought of a small child, his eyes covered, shouting, ‘Martin!’ And his hiding playmates giddily replying, ‘Frobisher!’

And that’s why in the summer of 1561, I vowed to do what all others before me had failed at: to find the Northwest Passage. As it turns out, just sitting around vowing to accomplish things is incredibly easy. So easy, that I started vowing things all the time, “I’m going to discover and eat a black hole! I’m going to marry a dragon! I’m going to start a minstrel group called Martin Frobisher and the News!”

After about 15 years of some good, solid vowing, my wife lay dying (of either the plague or getting drowned for witchcraft), and she looked me in the eye and said with her dying breath, “Jesus Christ, just go find the damn Northwest Passage already.”

And so, in 1576, I embarked with three of the finest ships that the Muscovy Company just let me have. (Really, without much convincing. Seriously. My entire proposal was just pointing towards the Northwest Passage and shrugging. And guess what? Because of all the maps I had seen, I actually thought North was up! I literally just walked in and pointed up, and shrugged! Can you frickin believe that? Who the hell is running the Muscovy company? I’d bet any of you that son of a bitch is out of business by the time you’re reading this.)

Anyway, due to my aforementioned complete misunderstanding of how directions worked, two ships sank almost instantly. On the bright side, as one was sinking, I saw some water and called dibs on naming it the Frobisher Bay. Take that history!

With my one ship, I continued on, knowing that with my new found understanding of where North was, nothing could stop me. Except Ice. Ice totally stopped me.

I am writing some many F-bombs in my journal tonight.


After a while, and getting pretty sick of all that ice (or, as I was now calling it, Frobisher’s Arch Nemesis), I started to lose interest in the whole “North” part of my journey, and started to get more and more intrigued by the “West” portion. My crew started to get a worried, and I became concerned that I may have a mutiny on my hands. I knew the only way to prevent such a thing was to give them a rousing motivational speech. And so I looked each and everyone of them in the eyes, for a very uncomfortable amount of a time, and finally said, “Guys. C’mon. West will be awesome.”

I don’t know if it was my rousing speech or the fact that, during my pre-speech staring, we had already hit land some days ago, but everyone agreed to just get off the boat and start the exploring.

I told five of my best man to search the immediate area, and gave them specific instructions that if anyone stumbled upon the Northwest Passage, to remember that I had already called dibs on naming that as well. Also, watch out for Indians (or, as I called them, The Ice Chunks Who Are Actually People, But Just as Annoying as Actual Ice Chunks).

After a few hours, I made a “travel decision” that the men I had sent out had probably been eaten by those land ice chunks, and decided to just head back (to the “east”…nailed it!), and maybe just try and start that minstrel group. Thankfully, as I’m sure many of you who have been on long trips know, fate intervened and changed my plans. I found gold. Booyah!

We loaded up the gold, and headed by to back to Jolly Old England with a ship full of treasure. Upon arrival, I showed the gold to the Muscovy company. They brought in a few experts to verify our discovery, and those downers told us two things:
1. Stop doing the “running man” and shouting, “Oh yeah! I found gold! In your face Cortez! Oh yeah!”
2. That what I had found was not gold, but something called “Pyrite.”

As Muscovy company thought this “Pyrite” stuff sounded made up (also, this stuff was really shiny, so obviously, you know, gold), they immediately burned these so called “experts” at the stake, and sent me back to, and these were their exact words, “Get us more Bling.” (I think they had been hanging out too long with their new minstrels from the dark continent.)

Now, as those that are reading this are most likely fellow travelers , I need to let you know the secret to overcoming all the disappointments you will certainly have on your voyages. Maybe you won’t do exactly what you set to do (find the Northwest Passage, name it the Frobisher Way), maybe you won’t get there the way you planned (with a much, much lower body count), but maybe, just maybe, you’ll find something you didn’t expect (Gold…which did turn out to be Pyrite. So, that was a bummer. Especially since the Muscovy company sent me there three times before they figured out it was just worthless rocks.)

But life could always be worse (like if I get shot by an errant bullet, and then suffer for days, until I finally just die because no doctors can get to me. Because that would really suck).


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Aaron Armstrong

Aaron Armstrong

Aaron Armstrong feels very powerful when writing about himself in third person. He has started writing screenplays, novels, and a Highlander Rock Opera. He has been foiled in seeing these works reach their completion by acute voluntary carpal tunnel and the fact that he does not own the rights to Highlander. He currently resides in St Paul, MN, because he is frightened of sharks and wants to be as far away from the ocean without actually moving to space. He can be reached at