When discovered in 1978 Oodaaq Island was farther north than either Kaffeklubben Island or Cape Morris Jesup. Oodaaq Island thus laid claim to being the world’s northernmost bit of land. Oodaaq Island was discovered by a Danish Geodesist while working on a mapping project in northern Greenland. As the discoverer of an unknown island he claimed the right to name it. He chose Oodaaq Island, after one of the sledge drivers who accompanied Robert Peary on his 1909 attempt to reach the North Pole.
In the years following 1969 Kaffeklubben Island was accepted as the world’s northernmost bit of land. Then in 1978 as a Danish mapping team occupied Kaffeklubben, one of its members looked north and “saw a thin shadow on the sea ice almost due north, and announced he had discovered a new island.” Shortly thereafter the team’s helicopter flew out to the “shadow” and verified that it was in fact a small island.
While it is still found on many maps, Oodaaq Island was never officially seen after 1978. It became the first of what some have called “Ghost Islands,” small islands that appear one year and after a few years disappear, never to be seen again.
My book Beyond the Edge tells the first hand story of how the Danish mapping team happened to discover Oodaaq Island. Oodaaq Island is one of the intriguing and little known Arctic stories that continue to this day.
Interested in learning more about the discovery of Oodaaq Island? Get your copy of Beyond the Edge today!