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Danskøya: Virgohamna


Vir­go­ham­na as a vir­tu­al Pan­ora­ma tour

Here a 360° tour of Vir­go­ham­na:

Vir­go­ham­na 1: Well­man 1906

The Ame­ri­can jour­na­list Wal­ter Well­man had the plan to reach the North Pole to crea­te the big­gest pos­si­ble sen­sa­ti­on for his news­pa­per, the Chi­ca­go Record Herald. Pre­vious attempts with stre­nuous sledge jour­ney over the pack ice from north Spits­ber­gen (1894) and Franz Josef Land (1898-99) had all fai­led. So did Wellman’s first attempt from Vir­go­ham­na on Dan­s­køya in 1906 with the air­ship Ame­ri­ca despi­te con­sidera­ble cos­t­ly pre­pa­ra­ti­ons.

Vir­go­ham­na 2: Well­man 1907

For his second attempt in 1907, Well­man could make use of hut and han­gar from the year befo­re. But he did not get fur­ther away than appro­xi­m­ate­ly 24 kilo­me­t­res until the air­ship cra­s­hed on Fugle­pyn­te­breen, a litt­le gla­cier fur­ther nor­the­ast on the coast of Spits­ber­gen. Well­man and his crew sur­vi­ved and were taken back to Vir­go­ham­na.

Vir­go­ham­na 3: Well­man 1909

Pro­ba­b­ly it took Well­man more time to con­vin­ce his spon­sors again, as he did not return befo­re 1909. His air­ship Ame­ri­ca flew about 40 miles north of Spits­ber­gen befo­re it cra­s­hed onto the sea ice. Well­man and his crew were res­cued – again – prac­ti­cal­ly wit­hout inju­ries. He aban­do­ned any plan for fur­ther attempts when he heard that his fel­low coun­try­man Robert Peary clai­med to have rea­ched the North Pole.

Well­man is a con­tro­ver­si­al figu­re, and his seriou­si­ty was ques­tio­ned by Fri­dt­jof Nan­sen and many others. But he cer­tain­ly had a good fee­ling for tech­no­lo­gi­cal deve­lo­p­ments; he might have made it with some more accu­ra­cy, or may­be just that litt­le bit of luck that any explo­rer nee­ded to be suc­cessful.



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last modification: 2017-12-23 · copyright: Rolf Stange