After resting at the bottom of the ocean for more then 85 years, Roald Amundsen’s ship the Maud has been brought back to the surface, and is preparing to return to Norway. The ship, which was discovered off the coast of Cambridge Bay in Canada, helped to chart the Northeast Passage from 1918-1920, sunk in those waters back in 1930 after a short, but distinguished career in exploration.
A recovery team has spent the past six years working to bring the ship up from its watery grave. This past July, their efforts finally paid off, as the ship returned to the surface for the first time in more than eight decades. The crew first had to place a series of inflatable ballasts around the hull of the vessel, then slowly add air to them. Eventually this allowed them to place it on a barge and float it into harbor. Over the past two months, they have been been cleaning up the interior of the vessel in preparation for weathering the winter in the Arctic.
The recovery team says that the winter weather will actually help the ship, allowing its wooden hull to dry. This will help to reduce the ship’s current weight, and will take some of the pressure off of the hull. That will help to stabilize it for the long journey back home to Norway, which is likely to take place next summer.
According to reports, the ship is in surprisingly good shape. The hull remains solid and strong, despite being at the bottom of the ocean for so long. The vessel was originally built back in 1917, and commissioned by Amundsen to accompany him on his exploration of the icy waters north of Russia. Amundsen is well know for is exploits in the cold places of our planet. He was the first person to reach the South Pole back in 1911, and was instrumental in exploring the Arctic as well, becoming the first person to full pass through the Northwest Passage.
The Maud was sold off in 1925, five years before she sank. But, she is considered an important piece of exploration history, and back home in Norway she’ll be preserved for posterity. In that country, Amundsen is incredibly famous, and any relic left over from his expeditions is a valuable commodity.
This is quite a cool story. I’m glad this team was able to locate and recover the ship. Hopefully it makes it through the winter in one piece, and returns home next year as planned.
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