A team of Norwegians have spent the last six summers in Cambridge Bay off the Nunavut territory of northern Canada attempting to raise Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen‘s research ship Maud from where it has been sitting in ice and mud for the last 86 years. This year they succeeded. Maud is finally afloat, though it will still take considerable time and effort to bring her back to Norway, the goal of the group appropriately named Maud Returns Home.
“This is a milestone, of course, because we have been wanting to lift her ever since we started to think about this project,” Jan Wanggaard, project manager for the Norway-based organization Maud Returns Home told CBCNews. “To actually see her releasing from the seabed — it’s a great experience.”
Maud was built for Roald Amundsen in 1916 for polar exploration. In an expedition between 1918 and 1924, Amundsen attempted to let Maud be caught in pack ice and drift across the North Pole, while thoses aboard collected scientific data. The attempt was not successful and the Maud was sold in 1925 to Hudson’s Bay Company, which used her as a supply vessel for Company outposts in Canada’s western Arctic. She sank in Cambridge Bay in 1930.
The team lifted the hull from the where it has been sitting on the bottom using air bladders, large inflatable balloons. Over the next few weeks they will attempt to slide a submerge barge underneath the ship. The barge will then be filled with air to raise the ship entirely out of the water. In time, the barge carrying the ship will be towed back to Norway, although that is expected to take several years to arrange.
Thanks to Alaric Bond for contributing to this post.