ARTIST INFORMATION WORKS
navigating the Northwest Passage.
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.
The 70 ft square-sterned 48
ton cutter was built by Kurt
Johannesson Skaale in Rosendal,
in 1872, the same year Amundsen was born. She was named Gjøa after her owner's wife. For the next 28
years she served as a herring
bought her in 1900 from Asbjørn Sexe of Ullensvang, Norway, for
his forthcoming expedition to the Arctic. Gjøa was much smaller than vessels used by
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 small crew (over-manning had perhaps been the cause of
failure of John
Franklin's expedition fifty years
previously). Her shallow draught would help her traverse the shoals of
straits. Perhaps most importantly the aging ship was all that Amundsen could afford ...he was financing his expedition largely by
spending his inheritance.