Posts Tagged ‘amundsen’

Mystery Arctic box unearthed, may contain Franklin’s log, but more likely Amundsens magnetic observations

September 8, 2010

Wally Porter (left) shows the cairn where his grandfather buried what may be the logbooks from the ill-fated Franklin expedition to writer Ken McGoogan. Photograph by: Sheena Fraser McGoogan, Postmedia News

Vancouver Sun via Circumpolar Musings:
By Ken McGoogan, Postmedia News September 5, 2010

An old wooden box excavated from beneath an Arctic cairn is being flown unopened Monday to Ottawa from the Nunavut hamlet of Gjoa Haven.

The Nunavut-government launched the excavation after an Inuit family relayed oral history suggesting that the cairn contained records from the ill-fated 1845 expedition led by Sir John Franklin in search of the Northwest Passage.

But Canadian historian Kenn Harper, who has spent months researching the cairn, says the box will prove to contain records left in 1905 by explorer Roald Amundsen during the first-ever navigation of the Passage.

The box, which measures 14.5 x 11 x 6.5 inches, will be opened and its contents preserved at the Canadian Conservation Institute.

Harper, author of the best-selling Inuit biography Give Me My Fathers Body, and also Honorary Danish Consul in Nunavut, says the box contains papers that Amundsen buried after spending almost two years in Gjoa Haven tracking the movements of the North Magnetic Pole.

He began investigating the cairn after learning of the claim by descendants of George Washington Porter II, a Hudson’s Bay Company manager based in that hamlet on King William Island.

Harper says that Eric Mitchell of the HBC, the senior man in the territory, dug up the Amundsen records in 1958, with the help of Porter II. The two men found documents that had first been discovered in 1927 by William Paddy Gibson, an HBC inspector who reburied them.

Gibson wrote in The Beaver magazine of finding the records, which included a signed photograph of Georg V. Neumayer, a German scientist who had sparked Amundsens interest in the North Magnetic Pole.

Harper predicted that the Saturday excavation would turn up an old HBC ammunition box. Andrew Porter, who runs a tourism business in Gjoa Haven, says that just such a box was found three feet beneath the cairn.

Harper says the unopened box contains a metal canister in a bed of tallow. Inside the canister, conservators will find the Amundsen documents in an envelope sewn into an oilskin packet and wrapped in pages from a 1950s Nautical Almanac and an Edmonton newspaper.

Harper, who has lived in the Arctic for over 30 years, doubts that any Franklin documents will be found. He believes that oral history has confused Franklin and Amundsen.

Original article here

Roald Amundsen and the Latham disappeared June 18th 1928

June 18, 2010


Hornorkesteret: Today we mourn the premature death of Roald Amundsen on June 18th 1928, 82 years ago. On a rescue mission to save his by then bitter enemy – the Italian general Umberto Nobile who designed the dirigible “Norge” used for the first transpolar flight.

The small seaplane Latham 47 left Tromsø as one of many rescue missions to recover the crew of the wrecked dirigible “Italia”. The Latham expedition sent their last radio signals a little later the same day, but then there was silence. Later an improvised raft was found made from one of the Latham 47 ‘s pontoons, and it is believed that the whole crew perished.

Two years ago, marking eighty years since the Latham 47 disappeared, Hornorkesteret recorded and released a song in Amundsens memory featuring norwegian polar hero Fridtjof Nansen on vocals, taken from a recording of his memorial speech for Amundsen. Together with other Amundsen-related tracks and sober and fitting cover graphics, this MP3 single can be downloaded from the Panot archive of curious musics – scroll to the bottom to find the “Elegi for Roald Amundsen” MP3 single. The files are kindly hosted by TEKS, Trondheim Elektroniske KunstSenter.

Hornorkesteret, The Norwegian Polar Orchestra has, since 1999, played music on instruments made from reindeer antlers and other antlers, as well as drums, bones, flutes, ice, rocks and fire. Hornorkesterets compositional strategy, consisting of both improvisation and set frameworks creates a unique and organic soundscape, and together with our conceptual and visual focus on norwegian polar history, the group has become an exciting and challenging experience. We have fans from all walks of life, construction workers, fishermen, professors, connoisseurs of contemporary music, scientists, rockers and  even jazz musicians have praised Hornorkesterets “call of the wild” and the moods the group manages to convey with their primitive antler instruments.

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“Elegi for Roald Amundsen” is a grandiose, bordering on pompous, piece with Fridtjof Nansen himself on vocal – praising Amundsen as “one of those silent men who DOES things”. The piece drones on behind Nansens dramatic speech in a minor key and ends with a “solo pathetique” played on the soprano antler Høyang Resonator.

Beautiful pictures from the Maud expedition

January 23, 2010

Northern lights above the Maud

Northern lights

Northern lights


Maud in the ice.

Sacrificial mound of antlers

Graves and landmark (double exposure)

All these beautiful pictures and many more can be found here