Draken Harald Hårfagre—the world’s largest modern Viking ship—has arrived in St. Anthony, Newfoundland. The ship, which set sail from Haugesund, Norway at the end of April, is recreating the first ever transatlantic crossing and the Viking discovery of the New World over a thousand years ago.
It will have a few other Canadian stops including Quebec City and Toronto, before concluding its journey in New York at the end of September.
The crew—comprised of 32 volunteers selected from 4,000 applicants—might not be experiencing the same challenges as Leif Eriksson did, but the trip has been gruelling nonetheless. Their Facebook page mentions extremely cold and wet conditions, difficulty navigating around icebergs, and repairing broken equipment, all testaments to the historical parallels between the Draken’s journey and the Viking’s.
The ship is 35 meters long, eight metres wide, and has a mast that reaches 24 metres. There are 25 pairs of oars that the crew vigorously rows to reach top speeds of 14 knots. Its design was influenced by the Gokstad ship — a Viking ship found in a burial mound in Sadefjord, Norway in 1879—and the project was initiated by Norwegian entrepreneur Sigurd Ase.
In an interview with The Telegram, the Draken’s captain Björn Ahlander says the journey is a great adventure and a unique opportunity to recreate history, but will also be a rigorous test of strength and determination.