31 Oct

The Maud

The Maud, the ship built for Roald Amundsen for his attempt to reach the North Pole, has been finally freed from her icy prison after eighty –six years.
She had a tough existence. In 1917 Amundsen planned a further scientific expedition. He was inspired by Fridtjof Nansen’s 1890s expedition on the Fram, and aimed to sail through the Northeast Passage (via the Baring Strait between Russia and Alaska and into the icy labyrinths of north Canada), allowing the Maud to be frozen in pack ice north of the Baring Strait.
The pack ice formed early in 1918 and within three months Maud was frozen in for the winter. The expedition eventually proceeded eastward in August 1819, only to be caught again for a second winter in September 1919.
Amundsen then decided to return to Nome in Alaska for a refit. Having sailed through the Northeast Passage he arrived in Nome in July 1920 and after her refit Maud set out again, only to become stopped by ice in the Baring Strait for a third winter in the ice. Amundsen later left the Maud for an (unsuccessful) attempt to fly across the Arctic
After six years the Maud ended up in Nome, Alaska, and was sold to the Hudson Bay Company. In the winter of 1926 she was frozen in, in Cambridge Bay. She sank there in 1930.
In 1990 Maud was sold by the Hudson Bay Co. to Asker, a municipality near Oslo, with the hope that she would be returned to the town, but the plans proved too expensive could not be acted on.
Now she as been salvaged! Jan Wanggaard, who builds Viking longships has worked for six long years between July and September (when the ice melts and the temperature is above zero), to place airbags under the Maud and lift her slowly onto a barge. She is to be transport to Oslo and is in remarkable condition considering her decades in the sea – the sea is so cold that the timbers have been protected from microbial attacks; her hulk is in one piece.
In Oslo she will be displayed in a purpose built museum. Here she can be admired and revered.

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