The Maud, a storied Norwegian exploration ship, will soon leave Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, after sitting off shore at the bottom of shallow coastal waters for 86 years.
Last summer, after a six year effort, members of the Norway-based organization Maud Returns Home raised the sunken vessel from the icy grip of Davey Jones’ Locker. Bringing the Maud to the surface was part of a repatriation effort to bring the well-preserved remains of the vessel home to Norway.
The boat was in shallow water, a portion of its hull breaking the surface. The wreck was a well-known landmark in the community and a tourist attraction. The thought of having the Maud leave the waters of Cambridge Bay was regarded as bittersweet by some.
“When residents of Cambridge Bay first heard Norwegians wanted to take the Maud home we were a little resistant because it’s been here so long and it’s been part of the community for so long,” said Jeannie Ehaloak, mayor of Cambridge Bay.
The vessel, owned by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, travelled Arctic waters between 1918 and 1920 before financial hardships saw Amundsen sell the ship to the Hudson Bay Company, which used it as a floating warehouse. In 1930, it sank near what is now known as Cambridge Bay, where it remained underwater until last year.
The Maud was built in 1917 at the shipyards of Vollen near Asker, Norway, by master boat builder Christian Jensen.
Lene Conradi, the mayor of Asker, travelled to Cambridge Bay recently where she met with community members and Ehaloak as final preparations were underway for the first leg of the Maud’s journey home.
She described Amundsen as a kind of father of Norway’s modern identity.
“The Maud expedition was one of the most important expeditions of its time,”…