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Arts & Culture

Frozen North - Sir Hubert's Forgotten Submarine Expedition

Sir Hubert Wilkins' specially-built sub named the Nautilus. (undated photo)
Courtesy of Exectutive Program Services
Sir Hubert Wilkins' specially-built sub named the Nautilus. (undated photo)

Stream now or tune in Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Sir Hubert Wilkins was one of the most successful polar explorers of all times. In 1931 his Nautilus Expedition, for the first time in history, undertook the challenge to reach the North Pole by submarine, in his specially-built sub named the Nautilus

This very early submarine was named after the fictional submarine in Jules Verne’s novel "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea."

The documentary recounts the adventurous journey of an obsessed explorer who devoted his entire life to the exploration and research of the polar region. Seventy years later we accompany oceanographer Hans Fricke on his search for the wreck of the Nautilus.

Frozen North - Sir Hubert's Forgotten Submarine Expedition

With a wealth of historical footage, modern re-enactments, and the help of a 1:1 steel model of the Nautilus, one of the last polar adventures of our time will be brought back to life for your viewers. Despite the best efforts of Sir Hubert and his crew, their mission to the North Pole failed.

It was not until the U.S. Navy nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) accomplished this feat in 1958, did a sub reach the North Pole underwater and transit the Polar icecap.

Nonetheless, Sir Hubert’s expedition proved that submarines were capable of operating underneath the polar ice.