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Silent film: The Carlsberg Foundation’s Oceanographic Expedition Round the World, 1928–30


Footage from the Carlsberg Foundation’s Oceanographic Expedition Round the World 1928-30 “Dana’s” Route. In a rainstorm, the “Dana” sets sail from Nordre Toldbod on 14 June 1928 to begin her expedition round the world. On the open sea. The log is read. “Dana” then trawls for ground fish. Fishing in water from the bottom to the surface of the sea (pelagic fishing). Nets are attached to steel wire to reach fish at several depths. Silvery deep-sea fish. “Dana” flows through the Panama Canal, towed and steered through the locks by electric locomotives, and past the Dead Forest in the Gatún Lake. A washing scenario in Tahiti. A young Tahitian climbs to fetch a green coconut to offer refreshment. The Maori Chief, Kin Winera, and his people demonstrate to the expedition how the natives catch eels in the rivers of New Zealand. A few of New Zealand’s most peculiar-looking animals, the eagle Hatteria whose relatives were extinct thousands of years ago, and the ostrich-like bird, the Kiwi, the country’s national bird. At sea, the albatross tells tales of the southern latitudes. Through Cook Strait out into the uneasy Tasman Lake. The hydrographical steam game with 10.000 metres of steel wire. Hydrographical examinations: water-carriers are sent vertically down to measure temperatures and to record water samples from the different layers of water. Several water-carriers are in use at the same time. The water-carrier is open when sent down and is closed at the desired deep by a drop plumb on steel wire. As it hits the water-carrier, the closing mechanism activates. When the water-carrier is brought up, the temperature is read and water is retrieved to do analysing tests measuring salt, oxygen, phosphate and nitrate in the water. While some do hydrographical examinations, others find amusement in shark catching while the ship lies still. Even at these distant latitudes, the telegraph operator remains in contact with Copenhagen. “Dana” passes picturesque vessels on the Saigon River and by the end of the Menam River. From the Menam River banks near Bangkok. The natives in the Philippines are skilled fishermen. The patient draft animal of the East, the buffalo. From “Dana’s” anchorage in Shanghai. Trade on “Dana’s” foredeck. The Japanese women understand finger language, too. Heading back South. Vertical net of fine mesh silk is used to catch plankton, the sea’s small organisms. Samples are collected during sailing by pumping seawater through smaller silk nets. The catch seen under a microscope. The native people of New Guinea, the black Papuans. Eel larvae are caught just outside Sumatra and examined under a microscope, one by one. The echo plummet unit proves useful in search of the eel’s breeding grounds. 5360 metres. The whole operation took less than half a minute. Plummeting the old-fashioned way with the Lukas-plummet machine. It takes a long time lowering a plumb bob 5000 metres to the bottom and back up again. “Dana’s” pets. The black Christmas pig. A hearty goodbye to the Danes in Durban. At the foot of the Table Mountain in Cape Town’s harbour. A ‘black’ day on “Dana”. Men of colour bring coal aboard while coal dust clouds the air. “Dana” in dock in Algiers: a small gathering aboard with the old Consul General Dr. Nissen at the head, watching the last of the work. A new pet, a sea turtle, boards the ship in Tunis. Through the narrow Corinth Canal. Samples are taken from the seabed and its wildlife with a so-called “bottom-sampler”. The bed material is sieved to retrieve the animals. “Dana” is bid a hearty welcome in Boulogne. Through the Kiel Canal. “Dana” passes Kronborg and is bid welcome in Helsingør by the expedition’s Protector, His Royal Highness Prince Valdemar. Their Royal Highnesses Prince Valdemar and Prince George disembark before the ship’s entry in Copenhagen’s Harbour. The festive arrival in Nordre Toldbod. Minister Friis-Skotte… and the “Dana”-committee’s President, Professor Ostenfeld, welcomes the ship home. … The leader of the expedition, Professor Johs. Schmidt, gives thanks for the beautiful welcome. The end.

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