Friday, October 14, 2016


14 October 2014  Discovered some six years ago in Canada's Nunavut waters near Cambridge Bay, a team of Norwegian archeologists have raised from her icy grave and begun to stabilize the wreck of what had been Roald Amundsen's Arctic exploration vessel, Maud.


"It's a beautiful ship and she's very strong," says Jan Wanggaard, the project manager for the recovery team.

"We're very happy now that we can see the Maud is in an extremely good state."

The Maud’s egg-like shape helped preserve its structure under heavy ice pressure, says Wanggaard. (Submitted by Jan Wanggaard)

The Maud was launched on June 7, 1917, and captained by Amundsen during his 1918-20 expedition into the Northeast Passage above Russia. It was sold in 1925, and sank in 1930 after getting trapped in the ice near Cambridge Bay. 

And despite being submerged in Arctic waters for more than 80 years, the ship has maintained much of its integrity.

Wanggaard and his team have been coming to the area to work on the wreck every summer for six years.

In June, the team began inflating air bags and balloons around the ship. Their experience with an unsuccessful lift last year helped them come better prepared with additional flotation devices. 

Finally in July, the Maud floated for the first time since it sank.

After a month of cleaning the Maud starts to reveal its beautiful details. (Submitted by Jan Wanggaard)

Throughout July and August, the team worked on placing the ship on top of a barge. And for most of September their work consisted of cleaning out the inside of the ship.

"She was quite covered with mud and other debris," says Wanggaard.

The Maud now rests on a barge near the coast. Over the winter it will freeze in place.

"That is actually good for the Maud, because she needs to dry," says Wanggaard.

"It's worth taking her back to protect her for the future, because sooner or later she would have been completely destroyed by nature."

The Maud's excellent shape gives Wanggaard and his team renewed hope that it can begin the journey back to Norway next summer when the team returns to Cambridge Bay.

Their task next year will be to stabilize the ship on the barge and make it seaworthy.
Thanks to Crystal Safadi and CBC for contributing to this post.
Until next time,
                                Fair Winds,
                                            Old Salt


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