Roald Amundsen’s Maud
MAUD was a polar ship built by one of Norway’s top wooden boat builders, Christian Jensen, in 1917 for polar explorer Roald Amundsen. Amundsen christened Maud with a block of ice that he chattered against the bow and proclaimed; “You are made for the ice”. However, MAUD has been sunken beneath the sea in Cambridge Bay off the coast of Victoria Island since 1931.
The ship’s mission, which began in 1918, was to get deliberately stuck in the ice above the Bering Strait, a stretch of Arctic water between Russia and the US. There, led by Harald Sverdrup, it would drift across the Arctic making measurements with on-board scientific instruments.
Despite getting stuck in the ice and attempting to drift to the North Pole on two separate occasions the ship never actually made it all the way there. It did however, allow for a large number of scientific observations to be made; geological, meteorological and oceanographic.
It has taken years of preparation, but the Maud Returns Home project is now ready to refloat the ship back home to Norway. The idea is to eventually display the ship in a dedicated MAUD Museum, which will highlight its history alongside the history of pioneers like Amundsen.
The project workers are having to wait for the ice to thaw around Maud before they can refloat the ship. The picture below shows a birdseye view of Maud frozen in the ice. Once the ice has thawed they’re planning to lift MAUD free from the sea bed using giant airbags.
Maud Returns Home is the working title for a complete plan to salvage the sunken ship wreck of Roald Amundsens polar ship MAUD, and bring her back from the North West Passage to Vollen, Norway, where she was built nearly 100 years ago. You can find out more about the project and follow the project’s progress via their website: www.maudreturnshome.no