Polar Explorers

oluf-raanes-big-(3).pngOluf Raanes (1865-1932)

Raanes was mate on the Fram on Otto Sverdrup’s expedition to northwest Greenland and the islands north of Canada 1898-1902.

Oluf Raanes was born on Værøy, Lofoton. Coming from an area of Norway famous for its fisheries, Raanes naturally went to sea from an early age. He was chosen to be mate on the 2nd Fram expedition. During the 4-year long expedition, Raanes and the expedition’s main hunter Ivar Fosheim laid vague plans to travel to East Greenland after the expedition to catch musk oxen alive and sell them to zoos around the world. According to Fosheim these strange-looking animals were not to be found in any zoo in the world, and the two could therefore make a brilliant business – if they managed to transport the animals alive over the oceans. On their return home the plans were seemingly forgotten. Fosheim described Raanes in his diary as a good chap, clever, considerate and kind.

As with all the others except the cook Lindstrøm, Raanes participated in the hunting of musk oxen and walrus for food for men and dogs, and in some of the long sledging trips for surveying this previously unmapped area.

After the expedition, Raanes became lighthouse keeper on Grip by Kristiansund and then at Andenes, where he worked for 22 years. He retired in 1929 and moved to Trondheim. In 1930 he helped to restore the Fram as a museum ship, working with the rigging and general restoration. The Fram is displayed in its own building at Bygdøy, Oslo.

"Victory awaits him, who has everything in order - luck we call it.  Defeat is definitely due for him, who has neglected to take the necessary precautions - bad luck we call it"

Roald Amundsen

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