The largest Viking ship that undertook the treacherous and challenging journey across North Atlantic touched the shores of North America successfully. The journey was not merely an attempt of adventurism it rather carried with it the legacy of the Vikings’ historic resillience and contribution in the discovery of the New World.
The ship named ‘Draken Harald Harfagre’, and the whole journey is an elaborate tribute to the infamous Viking Leif Eriksson, who is associated with the exploration of the New World namely the Americas.
The symbolic dragon Viking ship is a real replica; the massive vessel was reconstructed after a painstakingly long but rewarding process. The model of the replica was based on the depiction of dragon vessels as described in Norse Sagas and other historical accounts of the time. The journey took a whole month, and the nerves of the crew along with the structure of the ship were tested to the final degree through the month long historic journey.
The weather posed a specific challenge to the crew of the ship; the conditions worsened merely days into the journey and men onboard had to work tirelessly in order to keep the ship sailing through the monstrous storms of Atlantic. Starting from Haugesund, Norway, the Viking ship took the ancient route used by the Viking explorers 1000 years ago; the journey ended when the ship reached St. Anthony, Newfoundland, Canada.
The challenging journey for Draken Harald Harfagre started on 26th April; the crew made their first stop in Shetland before venturing towards the Faroe Islands. In the next phase of the journey, the Viking ship sailed towards Iceland, then reaching Greenland before arriving at its final destination in St. Anthony, Canada.
The project of building the ancient replica started in 2010, and the final ship was 35 metres long and 8 metres wide; not particularly large if compared to other ships used by Europeans at the time; however Vikings traditionally adhered to travel on smaller ships with more efficiency and manoeuvrability. The 33 crew on board the ship utilized a mix of old and new tools to navigate their way through the treacherous Atlantic conditions, and they certainly succeeded.
All photos by Draken Harald Hårfagre
According to the release published on the website for the expedition, the journey had the aim to bring attention towards the fact that Vikings discovered North America, and made the first trans-Atlantic journey centuries before anyone else even conceived the idea. And also to provide the crew and the wider world a taste of the hardships these ancient Vikings had to endure during their expedition a thousand years ago.
In addition the website comments upon the sheer resilience of the Vikings which has become synonymous to the legendary warriors; that played a significant role in completing the long and challenging journey with primitive tools for survival and navigation.