National Geographic : 1896 Mar
98 NANSEN'S POLAR EXPEDITION Nansen's plans, told of finding a fresh stick of Siberian pine, with the bark still upon it and which seemed to have been only a few months in the water, on the west shore of Wellington channel, which enters Baffin's bay from the west.* If such a tree could be carried eastward in a few months from Siberia to a point accessible by ships from Baffin's bay, why is it not more probable that this throwing-stick, lost near Port Clarence, was carried north and east by the well-known northeasterly shore current past point Barrow and so on to Baffin's bay and the Greenland coast? At this meeting such Arctic authorities as Admiral Sir George Nares, Captain Wharton, Hydrographer R. N., ex-Hydrographer Sir George Richards, R. N., and Sir Joseph Hooker united in the opinion that nothing was known about the direction or exist ence of sea currents in the region Nansen hoped to traverse, and that all opinions in regard to them must be purely speculative. The doubtful character of the so-called Jeannette relics was also distinctly pointed out.f It cannot be said therefore that Nansen pursued his plans in ignorance of the doubtful elements of his hypothesis, but rather that his courage, energy, and audacity were such that he was willing to risk everything to put his specu lations to a final test. NANSEN'S POLAR EXPEDITION By GENERAL A. W. GREELY, Chief Signal Officer, United States Army The continuing interest of the unsolved polar mystery has been strikingly illustrated by the eagerness with which the press of the world has caught at every word that seems to indicate the success and safety of the brave Norwegian in his dangerous drift-voyage toward the north pole. Dr Fridtjof Nansen, born in 1861, became famous by cross ing, first of all men, the inland ice of Greenland in 1888 from Umivik, 640 45' north, on the east coast, to Kangersunek fiord, 50 miles south of Godthaab. Later, he conceived a novel and dangerous plan for polar work. Ignoring the accepted rules of * Geographical Journal, Jan., 1893, p. 25. t Op. cit., pp. 22-32.