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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.


By the way:

New book

my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (3): Die Bären­in­sel und Jan May­en”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!


This and other publishing products of the Spitsbergen publishing house in the Spitsbergen-Shop.

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