MAUD MID SUMMER
BUSY BODIES So now we have had about three full weeks spending all time installing two kinds of airbags, one is open like a parachute and the other is closed and bright yellow. Each airbag can contain around 4 qubic metre of air which gives 4 tons of lifting force to Maud. It is easy to understand that thes bags need to be fastened securly and this is quite a challenge as it all need to be done manually and each bag is heavy and bulky. One major challenge is also that the water gets misty as we work and after on dive the visibiliy is practically like zero. I really have had a good practice in making knots blindfolded down under Maud.
AIRBAGS PLENTY These days we have installed around 40 airbags and they are inflated as we install them. Still we have quite a few to go and we do cross our fingers and hands that we will have sufficient available lifitng power to bring Maud free from the seabed after close to 85 years resting on the sea bed. Stig and Bjørn and myself were here alone untill a short week ago when Terje and KJell came to join us. We also have had Dan from a norwegian newspaper here for the last couple of weeks, hanging around with us. Soon he will hopefully make a good news update on our project.
So as August is knocking at the door, the midnight sun is dipping into the horizon and the nights are not as bright any more but the weather is quite good, on and off. The winds is really the biggest challenge when it comes to dealing with the weather, as we have no protection from the wind when spending long days around Maud. Sometimes we have a quiet day and its a blessing. The temperature is between 0 and 10 celcius which is really perfect for hard work outside.
So thats the reality of out days. Our days are full of on challenge after the other and despite seeming to to soemthing quite monotonous every day is putting us into situation where we need to use all the skills and experience we can gather. Sometimes we have small setbacks but as the days roll on we know there is progress and every day we are one step closer to reach out first obvious target, namely to free Maud from the seabed and make her float with the help of all the airbags attached all around her. Maud is extremely heavy. She was built stronger than any wooden boat ever built in Norway. And we can not really know the exact weight of her where she rest today. We have had many estimates made by qualified people but there is not exact number in tons. We have to wait and see. The easiest way is just to keep on installing more airbags, until she finally will float. Let that day happen soon.
When Maud is afloat she will still be submerged and only first when we have moved her over barge Jensen that will be put down on the seabed on deeper water, then we can start the final process of pushing Maud up and out of the water. But that is the future and we are living in the present.
As I write these words I am soon off to the Maud camp ready for another dive on Maud. Normally I reach two dives in a day keeping everyone busy manouvering airbags and straps into position for being installed. That Is our summer of 2016 until now. But things will happen soon.
Bjørn playing with the yellow ballons as the ice melts rapidly around us
Stig is the master a all trades and jensen is our dear companion
As maud tilts into a more horisontal position with her keel resting on the seabed – she become invisible from above the sea. Hopefully temporary.
Preparations for a new day. Refilling of diving bottles and new airbags on the ramp.
Seen from Tandberg Polar Maud rests on the seabed only a meter or so under the surface.