"The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down." A. Whitney Brown.

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San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 750, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

21 June 2012

❖ Exploration Ship MAUD Leaves Seattle (Updated with 5th photo) ❖

"Five of the ten who will be on the Schooner MAUD
when Capt. Roald Amundsen attempts his seven 
year drift through Arctic seas over the North Pole.
L-R: S. Syvertsen, marine engineer
Dr. H.U. Sverdrup, scientist
Capt. Oskar Wisting, navigator
G. Olonkin, marine engineer/wireless operator
Edward Eriksen, seaman.
All are on equal footing on the MAUD."
Photo dated 13 May 1922.
Original from the S.P.H.S.©

Seattle to Arctic Expedition
at Seattle, WA. 1922.
Original photo by James A. Turner
Archives of the S.P.H.S.©
"One of the big stories of Seattle's waterfront in which I had a part was the sailing of the Roald Amundsen exploration ship MAUD for the Arctic ice-pack in a history-making attempt to drift across the top of the world. It was a balmy day in June 1922 when I headed for the waterfront accompanied by a photographer to cover the departure of the famed explorer and his sturdy three-masted motorship.
      The voyage of exploration had been highly publicized and a great throng was at the Union Oil Dock to say bon voyage to Amundsen, his officers and crew.
at Union Oil Dock, Seattle, WA.
dated 7 June 1922
Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.
      It was estimated that 5,000 persons saw the MAUD shift into the harbor and head down the Sound escorted by a flotilla of Seattle yachts.
      The MAUD was a strange-looking craft with long bowsprit, one tall, and two short masts. The tall mainmast and the foremast carried crow's nests for use by ice pilots; the hull was described as having the shape of an egg cut in half endways.
      The MAUD had as her chief officer, Capt. Carl M. ("North Pole") Hansen, who began his seafaring career as a lad of 11 years. The stocky son of the Vikings now is skipper of the powder boat DUPONT which serves Puget Sound and Southeastern Alaska. He is an active member of the Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Seattle, and is much interested in maritime affairs.
      Captain Hansen is one of Seattle's most colorful mariners. He was the mate of the motorship PATTERSON of San Francisco, trading for furs as far to the eastward in the Arctic as Herschel Island. He was master of the Swenson Company's Siberian fur trader NANUK, later used in filming "The Eskimo", a moving picture of the Arctic. Also, he was skipper of the Seattle purse-seiner PACIFIC QUEEN, which carried a party of scientists on an off-shore fishing expedition for the Peruvian government. The PACIFIC QUEEN visited the storied Galapagos Islands, 700-miles west of Ecuador where Baroness Eloise Bosquet de Wagner played the role of 'Empress' over natives and shipwrecked sailors.
      Captain Hansen spent three and one-half years in the MAUD. Here is the story he told me some years ago of his experiences in the polar regions:
      'On 25 July 1922, we watched the Alaska shoreline fade away in the mists as the MAUD headed for the Arctic ice-pack in which we were to drift across the top of the world. We were in the ice 42-months--three and one-half years--and then gave up the venture.
      I never shall forget the four Christmas days we spent in the Arctic aboard the MAUD. The ship was surrounded by many miles of solid ice, displaying a rugged magnificence, made weird by the Northern Lights that blazed across the sky at night.
      We spent the first Christmas 200-miles northwest of Wrangell Island. It was dark all day except for two hours of dim twilight at noon. The temperature was 42 degrees below zero. Christmas was celebrated with a real Yule tree, candlelight, and a dinner of canned chicken, canned vegetables, several kinds of cakes, cookies, and plum pudding. Seven boxes of Christmas fare had been placed in the hold for seven Yule holidays the officers of the vessel expected to spend in the Arctic ice.
      The MAUD was built in Norway for the Arctic trip, but as a ship for sailing to the ice floes was not much of a success. She was sold to the Hudson's Bay Company soon after our return from the Arctic and operated for several years as a fur-trading schooner between Vancouver, BC and the Far North.
      Crushed in the ice, the MAUD sank in Cambridge Bay off Copper Mine in the Canadian Arctic. She settled on the bottom of the bay and the water over her rails. The grinding floes finished her in a few months.'
Capt. Oscar Wisting,
Navigator, MAUD
Original photo by Price & Carter of Seattle, WA,
from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
Backdated 3 June 1922
      Capt. Oscar Wisting, the MAUD's skipper, who was master of the Amundsen exploration ship FRAM, used on a cruise to the South Pole, died in his cabin aboard the vessel in Norway. The FRAM had been converted into a floating museum and Capt. Wisting was her caretaker.
      Although the attempt of the MAUD to drift over the top of the world was unsuccessful, Amundsen in 1926 flew over the North Pole in the dirigible NORGE, accompanied by Lincoln Ellsworth, and a crew of 18. The NORGE left Kings Bay, Spitzbergen, 11 May, passed over the North Pole at 2:30 am 12 May and arrived at Teller, AK at 11 pm 13 May.
      Amundsen has been given up for lost since 1928 when he and five companions disappeared while making an airplane search for the lost Italian polar dirigible. In November 1941, a Rome report said Amundsen had been found living among Eskimos in a bay of the North Baffin Sea."
Above text from High Tide. R.H. Calkins, Seattle. Marine Digest Pub., 1952
Another view of MAUD, with Amundsen
preparing to castoff from Seattle, WA.,
for the Northwest Passage Expedition, June 1922.
Photo from the James A. Turner Collection
From archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©.

Underwater photos of the wreck of the Norwegian MAUD at Cambridge Bay can be viewed here.
Scroll down to 30 August 2012 log entry.


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