First Ship to Cross the Northwest Passage - Oslo, Norway
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Metro2
N 59° 54.161 E 010° 41.865
32V E 594967 N 6641790
Quick Description: The Gjøa was the first ship to cross the Northwest Passage.
Location: Oslo, Norway
Date Posted: 1/31/2013 8:33:08 AM
Waymark Code: WMG93C
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Zork V
Views: 0

Long Description:
The Gjøa is located near the Norwegian Maritime Museum.
Wikipedia (visit link) adds:

"Gjøa was the first vessel to transit the Northwest Passage. With a crew of six, Roald Amundsen traversed the passage in a three year journey, finishing in 1906...
ConstructionThe 70 by 20 ft (21 by 6.1 m) square-sterned sloop of 45 net register tonnage (4,500 cu ft, 130 m3) was built by Knut Johannesson Skaale in Rosendal, Norway in 1872, the same year Amundsen was born. She was named Gjøa after her then owner's wife. (Gjøa is a modern form of the Norse name Gyða - this again is a compressed form of Guðfríðr, a compound of guð 'god' and fríðr 'beautiful'.) For the next 28 years the vessel served as a herring fishing boat.

Purchase by Amundsen

In 1900, Amundsen bought her from Asbjørn Sexe of Ullensvang, Norway, for his forthcoming expedition to the Arctic Ocean. Gjøa was much smaller than vessels used by other Arctic expeditions, but Amundsen intended to live off the limited resources of the land and sea through which he was to travel, and reasoned that the land could sustain only a tiny crew (this had been the cause of the catastrophic failure of John Franklin's expedition fifty years previously). Her shallow draught would help her traverse the shoals of the Arctic straits. Perhaps most importantly, the aging ship was all that Amundsen (who was financing his expedition largely by spending his inheritance) could afford.

Amundsen had little experience of Arctic sailing, and so decided to undertake a training expedition before braving the Arctic ice. He engaged Hans Christian Johannsen, her previous owner, and a small crew, and sailed from Tromsø in April 1901. The next five months were spent sealing on the pack ice of the Barents Sea. Following their return to Tromsø in September, Amundsen set about remedying the deficiencies in Gjøa that the trip had exposed. He had a 13 horsepower single-screw marine paraffin motor installed (she had hitherto been propelled only by sail, and had proved to be sluggish). Much of the winter was spent upgrading her ice sheathing; Amundsen knew she would spend several winters iced-in.

Journey through the Northwest passage

In the spring of 1902, her refit complete, Amundsen sailed her to Christiania (later called Oslo), the capital of Norway. At this time Norway was still in an (increasingly unhappy) union with Sweden, and Amundsen hoped the nationalistic spirit which was sweeping the country would attract sponsors willing to underwrite the expedition's burgeoning costs. After much wrangling, and a donation from King Oscar, he succeeded. By the time Amundsen returned, Norway had gained its independence and he and his crew were among the new country's first national heroes.

Amundsen was to serve as the expedition leader and Gjøa's master. His crew were Godfred Hansen, a Danish naval lieutenant, Gjøa's first officer), Helmer Hanssen, the second officer, an experienced ice pilot (who would accompany Amundsen on many of his subsequent expeditions), Anton Lund, an experienced sealing captain, Peder Ristvedt (1873-1955), the engineer, Gustav Juel Wiik, the second engineer, a gunner in the Norwegian navy, and Adolf Henrik Lindstrøm (1866-1939), the cook.

Gjøa left the Oslofjord on June 16, 1903, and made for the Labrador Sea west of Greenland. From there she crossed Baffin Bay and navigated the narrow, icy straits of the Arctic Archipelago. By late September Gjøa was west of the Boothia Peninsula and began to encounter worsening weather and sea ice. Amundsen put her into a natural harbour on the south shore of King William Island; by October 3 she was iced in.

There she remained for nearly two years, with her crew undertaking sledge journeys to make measurements determine the location of the North Magnetic Pole, and learning from the local Inuit people. The harbour, known as Uqsuqtuuq ("lots of fat") in Inuktitut, has become the only settlement on the island - Gjoa Haven, Nunavut has a population of just over 1,000 people.


Gjøa arrives in Nome, August 1906

Gjøa left Gjoa Haven on August 13, 1905, and motored through the treacherous straits south of Victoria Island, and from there west into the Beaufort Sea. By October Gjøa was again iced-in, this time near Herschel Island in the Yukon. Amundsen left his men on board and spent much of the winter skiing 500 miles south to Eagle, Alaska to telegraph news of the expedition's success. He returned in March, but Gjøa remained icebound until July 11. Gjøa reached Nome on August 31, 1906. She sailed on to earthquake ravaged San Francisco, California, where the expedition was met with a hero's welcome on October 19."
FIRST - Classification Variable: Item or Event

Date of FIRST: 8/31/1906

More Information - Web URL: [Web Link]

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Metro2 visited First Ship to Cross the Northwest Passage  -  Oslo, Norway 9/30/2012 Metro2 visited it