Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageThe Maud floats again after being raised from the depths

By Karen Graham     Oct 15, 2016 in Science
Oslo - It has been over 80 years since the Maud, Polar explorer Roald Amundsen's ship sank in 1930 near what is now Cambridge Bay. After being raised from its watery grave in July, the sturdy ship is now resting on a barge, ready for the trip home to Norway.
The sturdy oak ship was built especially for Amundsen to withstand the Arctic winters stuck in the ice pack and was used by Amundsen to ply the Arctic between 1918 and 1925 as he tried but failed to reach the North Pole.
In 1923, Amundsen went bankrupt and the Maud was sold in 1925 to the Hudson Bay Company. The ship was used as a floating warehouse and was used to supply outposts in Canada's western Arctic. In 1930, after becoming trapped in the ice near Cambridge Bay, a leak caused by the propeller axle made the proud ship sink.
Roald Amundsen s ship Maud  built in 1917.
Roald Amundsen's ship Maud, built in 1917.
Anders Beer Wilse (1865 - 1949)
And there the Maud rested in the shallow waters of NUnavut's Cambridge Bay until 2011, when the Norwegian company Tandberg Eiendom AS announced a plan to return the Maud to Norway. They intend to build a museum in Vollen to house her, near where she was built in Asker, a suburb of the capital, Oslo.
A bird s eye view of the wreck of the Maud  taken last year with the help of a kite. Norwegian explo...
A bird's eye view of the wreck of the Maud, taken last year with the help of a kite. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen explored the far north in the vessel from 1918 to 1920.
Jan Wanggaar
The salvage operation began in 2015, and earlier this year on July 30, at around 3 p.m. MT, the Maud was lifted from the waters of the bay. The salvage team had to use about 50 huge air bags each one having four tons (3.6 metric tons) of lifting power, to raise her off the sea floor.
At that time, project manager Jan Wanggaard was quoted by CBC as saying, "She's much more heavy than we actually anticipated ... and that means it might be that we have to do the lifting process very slowly so she can lose some weight by being drained of water."
The Maud’s egg-like shape helped preserve its structure under heavy ice pressure  says Wanggaard.
The Maud’s egg-like shape helped preserve its structure under heavy ice pressure, says Wanggaard.
Jan Wanggaard
And that is just what has been going on these past few months as the ship was slowly raised and the barge she will ride on back to Norway was submerged enough to float the Maud onto her sea-going transportation.
Wanggaard attributes the ship's egg-like shape as helping to maintain the Maud's structure even under heavy ice pressure. It took all of July and August to get the ship onto the barge, and then September was spent cleaning the inside of the ship. "She was quite covered with mud and other debris," says Wanggaard.
After a month of cleaning the Maud starts to reveal its beautiful details.
After a month of cleaning the Maud starts to reveal its beautiful details.
Jan Wanggaard
The Maud won't be making the one-month sea trip to Norway until 2017. She will remain on the barge near the coast, freezing over the winter months, which actually will be good for the ship. "She needs to dry," says Wanggaard. He adds that the cold weather during the drying process will help to reduce Maud's weight and put less pressure on the wood.
Amundsen's expeditions with the Maud
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen is well known as the first person to reach the South Pole and he was the leader of the first air expedition to the North Pole. He is also known as having the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage.
Almost ready for the return trip to Norway.
Almost ready for the return trip to Norway.
Jan Wanggaard
All three of these accomplishments wouldn't have been possible but for the fact that Amundsen was well known for his meticulous and thorough preparation for his expeditions. He attributed his preparedness to an event that happened during his first expedition over the winter in Antarctica in 1887.
Scurvy hit the crew because there were no fresh citrus fruits to provide vitamin C. The expedition's doctor, Frederick Cook, probably saved the crew from scurvy by hunting for animals and feeding the crew fresh meat. And later, when he led the expedition through the Northwest Passage, he used lessons learned from the local Netsilik Inuit people to ensure his group's survival.
A map showing the location of Maud.
A map showing the location of Maud.
Jan Wanggaar
As for the Maud, little has been said about her exploits, yet she was an invaluable addition to Amundsen's exploration of the Arctic. Harald Sverdrup, an accomplished oceanographer who later became director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego was Amundsen's scientific director aboard the Maud.
The data Sverdrup and his team collected on magnetic, astronomical and meteorological observations are still valuable to scientists today. They also took pictures of the Northern Lights. Sverdrup even spent seven months living with the Chukchi people in northeastern Russia, taking meticulous ethnographic notes on their customs and language.
"This was his [Amundsen's] ship, built for him completely and it was a very sad end to that history until now, I think, says Wanggaard. By bringing Amundsen's ship home to Norway, it will be a fitting end to the story. "So in a way we are all very happy to give Maud a better end ... and to honor Roald Amundsen's incredible achievements," Wanggaard says.
More about Roald Amundsen, the Maud, Norway, back home to Norway, 80 years
Latest News
Top News