You’re in love with all things Viking – but what would you do if you were given the chance to sail a real Viking ship across the sea? If you’re an honest to goodness adventurer with better than average sea legs, maybe you should think about answering this job ad.
Expedition America is a project that began in 2010 to build a “modern Viking ship” that will sail with a volunteer crew of Viking and sailing enthusiasts from Norway to Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland, tracing the icy, watery steps the Viking explorers took on their way to North America.
The trip isn’t for those looking for a Viking cruise – that’s something totally different. You’ll sleep topside in a tent, but you will have a few ammenities the Vikings would have envied – an engine, a stove, and a modern toilet.
Why a Modern Viking Ship Instead of a True Replica?
The name of the ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, translates to Dragon Harald Fairhair, which honors the king who unified Norway into one kingdom. Construction on the dragon ship began in March of 2010, and was performed under consultation from Norway’s experts in traditional ship building. The whole project is considered an archaeological experiment to see if we could build a ship that rivaled the seaworthiness of an ancient Viking longboat.
For as many Viking boats as were probably on the water throughout the Viking era, we know very little about their ships. History has given us a few burial ships, but all the rest we can only guess. Projects like this can help archaeologists answer questions about how the ships were most likely made. The plans for the ship were sourced from burial ships, the Saga literature and other Old Norse literature, old images of Viking ships, and old purchasing records.
While the ship isn’t considered a replica, it’s something much more unique – a Viking ship built with the experience gained by hundreds of years of modern Norwegian shipbuilding craftsmanship.
The ship sailed its maiden voyage from Norway to the UK and back in the summer of 2014, and is now ready to fulfill its destiny as a follower of the Viking route to North America.
Think you’d like to join the 2016 crew? You can apply at the Draken Expedition America website. If this sounds like something you’d love, tell us why in the comments!