The Maud (named after Norway’s Queen Maud) in better days in 1918

The Maud (named after Norway’s Queen Maud) in better days in 1918. Bought by the Hudson's Bay Company, it was renamed Baymaud.
Photo Credit: wiki commons Anders Beer Wilse (1865 - 1949) - Galleri NOR Tilvekstnummer: NF.W 19772 Internnr:

Maud set to finally return home, a century later.

The 36.5 metre long Maud was a purpose-built ship designed with the technology of the early 20th century specifically to conquer the Arctic sea and ice.

Maud was built near Oslo and Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen intended to sail the ship to the North Pole travelling from west to east across the Arctic. He had been the first to sail across the Arctic’s Northwest Passage in 1903-06, and after another milestone by reaching the South Pole in 1911, had hoped to again conquer the Arctic by being the first to travel the “Northeast” passage across Siberia.

Cambridge Bay in the high Arctic on Victoria Island, Nunavut Territory, where Maud spent decades sunk in a shallow bay.
Cambridge Bay in the high Arctic on Victoria Island, Nunavut Territory, where Maud spent decades sunk in a shallow bay. © google maps

The plan was to allow the ship to be frozen in the winter ice and then drift with the icepack across the North Pole.  The ship did indeed get frozen in, but things didn’t go nearly as planned and the Maud returned to North America for repairs. But after two failed attempts, and six years later,  the money ran out, including Amundsen’s own bankruptcy.  While in Nome, Alaska for repairs, creditors sold the ship to the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1925. Thereafter it was going to be used as a supply vessel for the HBC’s western Arctic outposts.

That didn’t last long as the ship was frozen into the ice at Cambridge Bay in 1926, and sank there in a shallow water in 1930 where it has remained ever since.

The wreck of the Maud, across from Cambridge Bay circa 1998
The wreck of the Maud, across from Cambridge Bay circa June 1998 © Ansgar Walk- wiki commons

It must be noted that Norway is extremely proud of its many Arctic explorers and has been seeking to recover the ship for several years.

 2015: close-up of the starboard side of Maud showing through the ice with members of the Norwegian *Maud Returns Home* organisation.
2015: close-up of the starboard side of Maud showing through the ice with members of the Norwegian *Maud Returns Home* organisation. © Jan Wanggaard

Eventually, the HBC sold the ship to Norway, but there were many heritage and cultural legal hurdles to overcome.

A bird’s eye view of the wreck of the Maud, taken on July 22, 2015, with the help of a kite. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen travelled the Northeast Passage in the vessel from 1918 to 1920. He made the first-ever traverse of the Northwest Passage in his ship, the Gjoa.
A bird’s eye view of the wreck of the Maud, taken on July 22, 2015, with the help of a kite. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen travelled the Northeast Passage in the vessel from 1918 to 1920. He made the first-ever traverse of the Northwest Passage in his ship, the Gjoa. © Jan Wanggaard

Eventually this was cleared and a Norwegian group began the process of raising the wreck and taking it back to Norway for restoration and display.

Maud refloated in 2016
Maud refloated in 2016 © wikicommons- Cambridge Bay Weather

The complicated and extremely expensive process which  began initially some six years ago, saw this ship raised last year in a delicate operation.

This involved slipping air bags under the hull, raising it, then sliding a semi-submersible barge under it and then raising the barge carrying the hull.

The ice-breaking, iron-reinforced bow can still be seen. The cold conditions have kept much of the wood in restorable condition. ©  Jan Wanggaard

The planned return was delayed last year which gave more time for the water-logged hull to further dry out.

Members of the Maud Returns Home group, Stig Pettersen carries a heavy load of mud from the Maud while Terje Morved digs out the engine. One can see the huge pistons exposed. Tons of mud had to be removed much of it by hand.
Members of the “Maud Returns Home” group, Stig Pettersen carries a heavy load of mud from the Maud while Terje Morved digs out the engine. One can see the huge pistons exposed. Tons of mud had to be removed much of it by hand. © Jan Wanggaard

The Maud is now set to begin the slow trip back to Norway later this summer.

YouTube video (Maud Returns Home group)

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