Eighty-seven years after the Maud sank and a year after it was pulled up from the seabed, the ship will start its float home to Norway from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, this summer.
“It’s a big moment to see that’s she’s now starting to begin the trip back home,” said Jan Wanggaard, manager for the Maud Returns Home project. “We share this with a lot of people in Norway.”
The wooden ship was named for Queen Maud of Norway and christened when polar explorer Roald Amundsen shattered a piece of ice against its hull. It left Norway in July 1918, heading for the North Pole via the Northeast Passage.
It never made it.
Amundsen’s creditors sold it to the Hudson’s Bay Company and it sank in 1930.
It rested in the shallow water across from Cambridge Bay until last summer when a team of four Norwegians used giant “balloons” to raise the wreck. The team then slipped a barge under it and left it out over the winter to dry.
‘The curse now is ending’
The team started shovelling mud out of the ship’s innards last fall and this summer, as they wait for the ice around it to melt, they’ll finish the job.
The Maud was built for Amundsen, the first expedition leader to sail the Northwest Passage and the first person to reach the South Pole.
Digging into her rooms, the team is becoming familiar with more of its history—they’ve found old glass lampshades and a German book, titled The Curse.
Wanggaard says some say the Maud is cursed because it lost Amundsen “all his money” and never reached the North Pole.
“From our perspective, we see that the curse now is ending as she’s now being lifted and returning to Norway. There’s a nice end to the story.”