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A 32-metre long oak ship built using ancient Norse methods has sailed across the Atlantic and up the St. Lawrence River to Brockville, Ont. to demonstrate that Viking explorers may have travelled farther into North America than previously thought.
The Draken Harald Hårfagre set sail from Haugesund, Norway on April 24 with a crew of 32 volunteer sailors working in four-hour shifts.
Because a Viking long ship has no "below deck," 16 sailors at a time sleep under a tent below the 260 square metre red sail when not setting rigging, cleaning, preparing food, or manning the 25 pairs of oars.
Crossing the Atlantic
The Draken Harald is called the world's largest Viking ship, complete with a carved dragon figurehead at the prow and elaborate ornamentation throughout. It crossed from Norway to Reykjavik, Iceland in late April, then to Qaqortoq, Greenland, reaching St. Anthony, N.L. in June.
"You can't imagine the cold sometimes," Ahlander said of the Atlantic crossing. "It's so cold to be out when it's 2 degrees and a gale and 0 degrees in the water."
"It's very, very hard and challenging. Even if you try to imagine how it is, the reality is worse," he said.
When asked how they coped with the cold, Ahlander's answer was simple.
"We didn't cope, we were frozen."
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On one of the first legs of the journey to Iceland, he considered leaving some of the crew there, but he said they became stronger as the voyage continued.
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Watch out for growlers
Icebergs are a constant worry for ships crossing the Atlantic at this time of year, but it was the smaller ice chunks, known as growlers that worried the crew of the Harald Hårfagre.
"It's pieces of ice floating very near to the surface, you can't see them on the radar," he said.
Colliding with the ice can damage the hull or the rudder and in the middle of the Atlantic, the crew is far away from any assistance.
"It was very stressful in the night, we had sharp lookouts."
Ahlander is a hardy sailor, but he still says this voyage tested him the most.
"I have sailed big sailing vessels to China and back, but this is tougher, because you cannot have any breaking waves coming over your side."
The crew of a replica Viking ship that has sailed from Norway to Lake Erie says it might have to cancel the rest of its voyage because of an estimated $400,000 USD in unexpected expenses.
Crew members on board the Draken Harald Hårfagre told CBC News they recently found out they will have to pay a licensed pilot $400 USD per hour to board the vessel and navigate it through the international waters along the Canada-U.S. border, in compliance with the U.S. Coast Guard's pilotage regulations.
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"We are devastated, of course we want to continue," said Sarah Blank, a crew member on board the vessel, which bills itself as the "world's largest" Viking ship built in modern times.
The Draken Harald Hårfagre left Norway on April 24 with a crew of 32 volunteer sailors, reaching St. Anthony, N.L., before sailing down the St. Lawrence River to reach Brockville, Ont. in late June. The ship is currently in Fairport Harbor, Ohio.
Blank told CBC News the crew was under the impression before the journey that the ship would not be subject to pilotage, since its less than 35 metres in length, which is the threshold for pilotage in Canadian waters.
But Robert Lemire, the head of the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority in Cornwall, Ont., said the rules changed once the ship entered American waters on the south side of Cornwall.
Trouble started in international waters
When it comes to pilotage regulations, the U.S. Coast Guard classifies the waters west of Cornwall, including the entire Great Lakes region — with the exception of the Welland Canal — as "international waters" because it "touches sides of both countries," Lemire said.
"As such, the Norwegian ship is required under American laws to avail themselves of a licensed pilot in all international and American waters of the Great Lakes," he said.
'We don't have the budget to continue.'
Pilotage laws were originally established to make sure foreign commercial ships safely navigate waterways — which can be narrow, and contain islands or shoals — "to protect public interest, public infrastructure and the crew on board," Lemire said.
But the crew argues it's not a commercial vessel.
Draken Harald Hårfagre
1 hr ·
Sons of Norway started a fundraise to help us cover the pilot fees in the Great Lakes. We have choosen their initiative to be the official one, and we are so grateful and overwhelmed over all the people wanting to help us to be able to sail and visit the port of the Great Lakes! Thank you! Help us sail again!
originally posted by: SentientCentenarian
Wonderful! I love tall ships and any replicas; what a wonderful experience to be able to sail them! I can hear the ropes creaking from here.
At San Diego's Maritime Museum, they just completed a replica of the 1540s 'San Salvador'; it was first put into the water just weeks ago-
Archaeologists have unearthed a stone hearth that was used for iron-working, hundreds of miles away from the only other known Viking site in North America.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT CLARK, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
By Mark Strauss
PUBLISHED MARCH 31, 2016
POINT ROSEE, CANADAIt’s a two-mile trudge through forested, swampy ground to reach Point Rosee, a narrow, windswept peninsula stretching from southern Newfoundland into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Last June, a team of archaeologists was drawn to this remote part of Canada by a modern-day treasure map: satellite imagery revealing ground features that could be evidence of past human activity.
The treasure they discovered here—a stone hearth used for working iron—could rewrite the early history of North America and aid the search for lost Viking settlements described in Norse sagas centuries ago.
To date, the only confirmed Viking site in the New World is L’Anse aux Meadows, a thousand-year-old way station discovered in 1960 on the northern tip of Newfoundland. It was a temporary settlement, abandoned after just a few years, and archaeologists have spent the past half-century searching for elusive signs of other Norse expeditions.
“The sagas suggest a short period of activity and a very brief and failed colonization attempt,” says Douglas Bolender, an archaeologist specializing in Norse settlements. “L’Anse aux Meadows fits well with that story but is only one site. Point Rosee could reinforce that story or completely change it if the dating is different from L’Anse aux Meadows. We could end up with a much longer period of Norse activity in the New World.”
IIRC there were theories of them coming into the Great Lakes and trading for copper?
Got my camera battery charged up and ready to go. So hopefully lots of good pics
Can we expect some Pictures from your visit ??
originally posted by: merka
Fun fact: The name of the ship pretty much mean "The dragon Harald with lots of hair".
Not sure if its the hair, beard or or something else they are refering too.