MYSTERIES OF THE ARCTIC
A LIFE AND DEATH MARCH
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treatment for TV documentary series: 20 x 26 min.
title: THE STORIES AND MYSTERIES OF THE ARCTIC
co-production: Czech Television (CZ) - Optomen Television (UK) - CBS (CA) - White Pine Productions Ltd. (CA)
© Vladimir Vojir 1999 - 2000 (not been realised)
Russian Arctic: Kara Sea area, Dikson, Cape Celyuskin, Taimyr Peninsula, Cape Wild, Bering Strait
In 1919, Roald Amundsen set off on another polar expedition. On his ship Maud he wanted to reach Bering Strait, let the ship ice-bound there and have the assumed drift of floes carry it across the North Pole to the Greenland shores.
For fear of German submarines, Amundsen chose the shorter although much more dangerous way to the Bering Strait - along the Siberian coasts. The expedition was forced to spend the first winter behind the Cape Celyuskin. Their effort to get to the open sea next summer by dynamiting their way through was not successful. Therefore it was decided that two Norwegian sailors - Knudsen and Tessem - would leave the ship. Amundsen is said to send them out to the nearest inhabited place with a permanent telegraphic station - Dikson - with reports on the expedition and collected scientific material. According to other sources there were disagreements among members of the crew and even personal arguments between Amundsen and Tessem.
An almost 1000 km long march of Knudsen and Tessem along uninhabited Taimyr coast at temperatures between 40 to 50 C below during deep Polar night has been unparalleled in the history of Polar expeditions. They have never reached Dikson, though...
In 1922, mortal remains were found, apparently of Tessem, who had died of exhaustion not even 4 km from his aim. The scorched body of Knudsen was found before at Cape Wild. Apparently Tessem had attempted to burn him because he could not have bury him in the ever frozen ground. Both their tragic march and what had preceded have not been sufficiently explained till today. The question marks remain…
Amundsen’s Maud entered the Bering Strait, next year as the third ship, which in the history managed to sail through the Northeast Passage.
Amundsen R.: My Life as an Explorer
Centkiewicz A.: Na podbój Arktyky, (Warsaw 1956)
Bělov M.I.: Istoria otkrytia i osvojenija Severnogo morskogo puti (Moskva 1956 - 1969)
Bomann-Larsen Tor: Roald Amundsen: en biografi (Oslo 1995)
Šparo D., Šumilov A.: Tri zagadki Arktiki, (Moskva 1982)
Dikson (pomník Petera Tessema)
Norsk Polarinstitutt, Tromso
Paul Knudsen at Maud border
Prague, 1999 - 2000
© Vladimir Vojir 1999 - 2000