Isaac Israel Hayes was an early Arctic Explorer. In 1854, he explored as far north as the 79th Parallel North. At this time, many people believed in the Open Polar Sea. This was a theory that if you got through the thick ice you found when sailing north, you would reach a huge open sea surrounding the North Pole. Hayes claimed to have seen the Open Polar Sea during an 1860 expedition.
George Melville was an early Arctic Explorer. In 1873 the Polaris Expedition became stranded in Baffin Bay in the Arctic. Melville volunteered for the rescue operation, serving as Chief Engineer on the rescue ship Tigress.
In 1879 he also volunteered for for George DeLong's Arctic Expedition seeking to find direct path to the North Pole. This expedition became ice bound, and the exploration party had to abandon ship for three small lifeboats. Melville commanded one of the life boats, and his boat was the only one to make it back to land safely. He then set back out in search of the other boats. He found one group dead from exposure, and the third group was never found.