ONE MORE YEAR BEFORE WE GO
In the spring of 2012 we achieved an export permit for Maud from the Canadian Government and that made us able to put full energy on planning and executing a rescue operation to bring Maud finally back to Norway and Vollen where she was built, and finally erect a House of Maud to commemorate this ground(ice)braking expedition that had the ambition to reach the North Pole by deliberately being fixed in the polar ice and drift for several years across the arctic icecap. (Fritjof Nansen did the same attempt with polar ship Fram in 1893, reaching 80 degrees north.)
Last winter our Project Group decided to buy a Tug boat for the rescue operation, rather than renting one, and this was a very crucial decision as we in this way can achieve better control over the execution and also in choosing the crew on a more independent basis. To prepare the Tug itself for the operation has become a challenging task.
Over the last few months we have worked intensivly to prepare departure from Norway this summer and at this moment in time we are practically ready to go, but we also feel being pushed on time to be ready for departure this summer. There are many things to prepare and also to crew an expedition like this is a major challenge in many respects. As we wish to keep small and powerful as a group each individual crew member need to cover several skills – in addition to preferably being a sailor.
Based on the feeling of not being 100% ready to go we have decided to postpone our departure for Canada till next summer 2014.
This means in practice that we will delay the Maud rescue operation with one year.
For us this is a positive decision in every respect despite us being eager to get going. We wish to feel good and 100% comfortable in every way before we depart from Norway to bring back the old ship. That is to follow the principles and philosophy of Roald Amundsen himself.
This rescue operation is not only a demanding physical action but maybe more than anything a symbolic voyage. We wish to be ready for this challenge in every way. Not only technically. It took us some time to gain confidence from both the local people of Nunavut and Cambridge Bay that we had a serious intention relative to future of Maud, and this process had to have an element of time within. This process is also about communication. The Maud expedition was a historic event on world scale and has not ever gained its deserved attention. One can speculate why and there are many possible answers to that. Our ambition is not only to physically bring back Maud, it is also to erect a memorial a symbolic monument, helped by this physical rescue operation, to revitalize this important historic voyage that took place nearly 100 years ago.
So until next summer, when we sail from Norway, we will but extra priority and new energy into communication.
I have personally gradually fallen in love with Maud and all those endless amount of small events of glory but also great tragedy that are woven into the story of all those years Maud and her men spent drifting around in the endless arctic desert. So I encourage everyone that have learned to know about our plans, to take part in kissing Maud awake after her 100 years of silent sleep.
Yesterday a charming lady of 92 came at my doorstep and said hallo. Her name is Anna Margrethe Hamre, accompanied by her long time friends, Gerda and Hermann Døhlen. Anna (Bitte) as is daughter of Harald Ulrik Sverdrup who spent 7 long years of his life on board polarship Maud. To meet direct ascendants of the original Maud crew brings me closer to the history than anything else, besides being close up with Maud herself. Sverdrup was responsible for the scientific work executed on-board the ship over the years. An immense collection of data gathered through hard work, patience and strong will and understanding of its future importance.
An incredible achievement not much known to the world, 100 years after. Sverdrup later wrote THE OCEAN, world recognised and considered to be the bible of the world ocean currents, later used as a major tool to decide the exact time and date for the D-day, the invasion of Normandy in 1944.
The weave of life keeps moving and creates history, as we are all part of it all.
The old polar ship Maud has become more of a symbol than anything else for all of us involved in this project in one or another way. She is the center point for a number of stories still to be found, still to be told, still with great interest and importance for people of today. Maud is still a sleeping queen yet to reveal untold stories of victory and tragedy, beauty and love of life.
Follow us in our further process of preparation for the Maud Rescue Operation on this web page and also on Facebook Maud Returns Home.
jan wanggaard Norway july 2013
Maud in Vollen, Norway 1917