CAPE NASSAU AND ORANJE ISLANDS
NOVAJA SEMLJA (Russia)
Novaja Semlja Island in Barents Sea
Source Atlas Van Loon 1664 (Wikipedia)
The exact location of the Barents-Expedition`s Cape Nassau and the mystic islands is a difficult task. As already mentioned the arctic ocean has not only one fixed reference - the coast line - because also the ice conditions set from year to year changing limits for explorations. So the german artic `Tegethoff` expedition ended at 21st of August 1872 `north-east of Cape Nassau` at
The Tegethoff Expedition Nassau Cape at 76 ° 30` lat. N. (Google Earth)
The german exploration ship Tegethoff enclosed by pack ice `northeast the Nassau Cape` painted by Julius von Payer, 1876
The literally North Coast of Novaja Semlja (Google Earth)
The literally North Coast of Novaja Semlja extends over a distance of 38.3 kilometers (23.8 miles). The actually named shore reference points are (from west to east) Ermolaev Cape, Varneka Cape, Petrovskogo Cape, Carlsen Cape, Loshkin Cape, Elizavety Cape, Serebryannikov Cape, Mavrikya Cape and Cape Zhelanyia, according to dates from Wikimapia on Google Earth from 1st of February 2010. But which of this points was named by Barents in 1594 Cape Nassau ? About this question the study of the literature leads to different answers.
Cape Nassau, also called the `Asian North Cape` is described as `the most outer northwestern cape` of Novaja Semlja followed by the `Ice Cape` with the Orange Islands in the east. This description would allow to assume, that Cape Nassau must be situated between 8 and 16 kilometers west of Cape Carlsen which is `the uppermost northern point` of the island and be synonymous with the Varneka and Petrovskogo Cape or the correspondent cape at the eastern side of Ivanov Bay. Following the Ice Cape would be synonymous with Carlsen Cape or Loshkin Cape, both followed eastward by groups of small offshore rock islands.
But other sources describe Cape Nassau as synonymous with the nowadays called Mavrikiya Cape (Cape Mauritius) that is situated as `beforelast most northeastern cape` of the island. Consequently the Ice Cape would be synonymous with Cape Zhelanyia, what would put in question the description of the eastward following Orange Islands.
The most northeastern capes of Novaja Semlja, named `Cape Mavrikiya` (Cape Mauritius) and `Cape Zhelaniya` following dates from Wikimapia on Google Earth. Certain sources describe Cape Mavrikyia as synonymous with the historic Cape Nassau.
The open question of the exact position of Cape Nassau might have motivated research teams to localize that geographic point without doubt and that even more because at 15th May 1596 Barents participated in a second expedition that led him again to Novaja Semlja North Coast (K.E. von Baer 1838). Again the further way to Kara Sea was blocked by ice and the beginning winter forced the ships crew to remain in an natural harbour near Cape Nassau, where a wooden house was constructed to withstand the terrible winter until at 14th June 1597 the way back to Kola Peninsula was intended. The survival site, called `Het Behouden Huys`, is described in Search for Barents: evaluation of possible burial sites on Northern Novaya Zemlya.
at Cape Spory Navolok, even if this point is about 80 kilometers southward from Cape Mauritius (Mavrikiya) and Cape Desire (Zhelaniya) at the east coast of the island.
Bericht ueber die neuesten Entdeckungen an der Kueste von Nowaja Semlja.
Annalen der Erd-, Voelker- und Staatenkunde. Dritte Reihe. Band V. Heft IV. Berlin 31.1.1838., p 289-318.
Mueller, Martin (1948)
Die Entdeckung des Franz-Josephs-Landes vor 75 Jahren und ihre Bedeutung fuer die weitere Erforschung der Arktis. Polarforschung, 1948, p.13-15.
Zeeberg, Japaan J. et. al (2001)
Search for Barents. Evaluation of possible burial sites on the north Novaya Zemlya, Russia.
Arctic, Vol. 55, No.4 Dec. 2002 , p. 329-338.
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