VIKING SAIL 2000
L’Anse aux Meadows
da tripulação :
HISTÓRIA EM CONSTRUÇÃO
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Late afternoon on July 22,
six modern Vikings departed Massachusetts to take part in making history at
L’anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland Canada.
We were on a journey back in time to be a part of the reenactment of Leif Ericson
first landing, 1000 years ago.
Our journey took us over 1000 land miles and 15 hours on ferries.
We were bringing our "campsite" with us consisting of a Viking tent,
loam, bed, cooking pot and tripod as well as many replica Viking swords, knives,
cooking and hunting implements.
We were to be joined with 4 other modern Vikings from Canada as well as the
Captain of the Orm and his wife and we would take part in Viking Sail 2000.
We were heading to Norstead, L’Anse aux Meadows.
Norstead is a newly created port of trade, which recreates the way life was at
the time of the Vikings.
It is located near the site where it is believed that Leif Ericson landed over
1000 years ago.
The site takes you back in time to exhibit Viking history and culture.
There are displays of crafts being made, mock battles, stories of explorations,
games of skill, a Viking settlement home with a cooking area an open fire
where meals are prepared and served in Viking tradition.
There is also a chapel
and a boathouse, which now houses the Viking ship
The Snorri was donated by its builder Hodding Carter and is now a permanent
feature of Norstead.
We are proud to have been there to see the
land and it’s subsequent pull and roll on
logs into the boathouse to its final destination for future visitors.
This ship was built outside of Bath Maine and has visited many ports since 1998.
This year she joined the flotilla as they arrived in Norstead on July 28.
We were to be part of the crew of the
A Viking Ship built by its captain Henri Houben of Holland.
Henri had built the ship as a replica of the Vikingship the Oseberg.
It is an exact copy of the Oseberg ship, which was discovered in Norway and
is now housed in a museum.
When Henri Houben visited the museum he fell in love with the vessel and
decided that he would build a replica.
He did not have any drawings, but built it from memory,
taking 5 years to complete the task.
He has sailed it around Holland and Norway as well as to Sweden visiting
many ports during the past 25 years.
He was approached to bring the ship to L’Anse aux Meadows and
be a part of the flotilla.
After many months of planning with the Viking Trail Tourism Association he
decided to go for it.
This was the first time that he had entrusted his ship to anyone and
he was very anxious while preparing for the journey.
We arrived at Norstead in the evening of July 24 and learned that our ship
had been damaged in transit from Holland to L’Anse aux Meadows.
We had been preparing ourselves for weeks in anticipation of joining other
volunteer reenactors in rowing the
into Norstead as part of the flotilla on July 28.
We were all very disappointed, but Captain Henri was heartbroken.
It is a beautiful ship, named the
which means "snake or dragon" in Norwegian.
It was built to be light, fast, and flexible and the captain was looking
forward to the races that were scheduled to be held between the many
Viking ships that were going to participate.
After talking over the situation with the 9 crew members and the rest of the group,
it was decided that they would pull together to make the best of it,
they would demonstrate rowing to the visitors,
prepare for a Viking wedding which was to take place on the ship on July 29th,
and also practice to row the Swedish ship the
Glad of Gillberga
, which was also shipped over, did not have a full crew with him
( one thing I learned, a Viking ship is always called "him" not her ),
so our rowing crew was invited to join their crew and row in with the flotilla.
The Captain encouraged those that wanted to row to do so because they would
never have such an experience again.
6 of the crew rowed and they reported that they had a great feeling of being
part of history in the making;
they were exhilarated and moved that they had this great opportunity.
When Charlie and I first learned about the Viking Sail 2000 we both had the same thought.
We were planning on getting married this summer and decided that it would be
a great adventure to have a wedding on a Viking ship !.
The Captain offered his ship and he was also to be the officiating "King".
A group of Viking reenactors from England and Denmark prepared the ceremony
along with the Captain.
( Charlie and I could have no knowledge of these preparations but were told we
just had to "show up" !).
So for the days before the Viking Sail 2000 the rowing crew,
helmsman and tiller practiced "rowing" and also rowing for the queen.
The Captain taught the crew the commands in Dutch and he beat on the drum
timing each stroke of the oars.
There are different traditions depending on who was coming on board.
I was to be Queen Osa named after the Queen of the Oseberg and Charles was to be Leif.
These were our Viking names !
Our days were spent on site, explaining about the ship and it’s equipment
to visitors and also demonstrating rowing.
was placed on the rocky shoreline in a great location.
It was also very windy and cold and we were all glad that we brought our
winter clothes and long underwear !
Our Viking campsite was built a ways behind the ship with the tent set up
along with the viking loam and viking bed.
The loam and bed were built for our campsite by students at Gloucester High School.
The tent also served as a home for my son, Steven,
who decided to live on site with the other Viking reenactors.
He said that the nights were an extension of the days,
the reenactors continued in costume and lived and cooked their meals on site,
one difference was that there was drinking allowed after hours,
so the mead as well as other alcohol flowed freely.
It was quite an experience for him,
one that he thoroughly enjoyed and he met many new friends from all over the world.
During the preparation for Viking Sail 2000, the site was inundated with media.
There was a 50’s trailer parked on site housing the equipment for the
TV crews as well as several satellite dishes placed around the site.
There were camera crews everywhere,
a helicopter flying about for those overhead shots and
the sound system which would blow your socks off !
Such an unexplainable feeling,
here we were in an extremely remote area of the world,
on a peninsula 9 miles from the coast of Labrador called iceberg alley,
with a population of 44 in the village of L’Anse aux Meadows.
The quiet of the mountains meeting the shoreline,
there is no crashing surf or high tides as we know them,
no trees blowing in the breeze, very quiet,
then all of a sudden we hear rock and
roll music coming from the band practicing for the 28th !
It was weird and most of us felt it was entirely out of place.
However, as the week went by and we became used to the music which was
toned down to Celtic folk songs and the like,
the rehearsals for the speeches and the hustle and bustle of cameras everywhere,
we began to realize that this was not real, it was actually a movie set !
We were to be part of the media event, Viking Sail 2000 !
This remote fishing village and surroundings had never seen so many visitors.
On July 28th it was reported that over 17,000 people visited Norstead !
I feel that we were lucky to be there for the whole event.
We were touched by the spirits of those early Vikings of 1000 years ago.
We dressed like them, and acted like them for a short period of time.
We saw the Viking ships land, the way they probably did 1000 years ago,
in the spot close to where they actually landed,
and experienced the goosebumps when the flotilla sailed into view greeted
by blows of the viking horn by our Captain Henri !
We viewed the Swedish ships, Thor Viking
, Glad of Gillberga
Norwegian ship Mjork
and U.S. ships />Fredraka
, Gry Falcoln
, the Snorri
and finally the Islendingur
from Iceland arrived last !
The Islendingur had recreated the legendary Viking’s original course
led by a direct descendant of Leif Ericson.
We could almost believe that we were there 1000 years ago when Leif Ericson
arrived for the first time.
It was an experience of a lifetime, one that many people never have;
we are fortunate to have been there as part of history in the making and
we are glad that we went.
On the 29th the weather was cold and rainy but we had our Viking wedding,
complete with licking salt off of each other’s finger,
and feeding bread to each other.
Symbolic of the salt of the earth and the bread of life.
As Leif’s most important wife I was presented the key to the food locker,
we drank mead from the horn and it was passed to all present who wished us good luck,
then the rest of the mead was spilled onto the ground as a tribute to the gods.
One of our new friends visiting the site had baked a partridgeberry cake
which Charlie cut with his sword
( we didn’t have a knife ) and shared with our guests !
We were interviewed on Canadian radio and our wedding was on the evening news on CBC
so for a few days we were somewhat of celebrities in Canada !
It was a remarkable wedding on a beautiful Viking ship that we all came to love.
On the day after the wedding Norstead was almost desolate again,
a few local people came to visit,
those who didn’t want to mingle with the 17,000 visitors,
but the media was gone, we could hear the sea birds again and the waves gently
lapping on the shoreline.
The next few days were spent winding down,
meeting others on the site, visiting L’Anse aux Meadows and
attending a barbeque for all the crew members.
As the week progressed we prepared to leave, pack up the
for it’s trip back to Holland and say goodbye to our friends.
Viking Sail 2000 and our visit to Newfoundland was a "moment in time" that few experience.
All in all a wonderful experience as it all came together for the Viking ship
and it’s crew.
is on it’s way back to Holland,
the Captain will make repairs to him and hopefully one day,
we might get an opportunity to see him, light,
fast and flexible sailing over the waves where he belongs.
Henri’s love of the Oseberg ship could be called mystic, a few years ago,
Henri’s son while researching the family geneology learned that
Henri is a descendant of Queen Ase of the Oseberg.
The "key" I was presented was actually the key to the city of Oslo Norway,
which was presented to Henri years ago,
I was honoured that he let me borrow it for the occasion.
Written by Elaine (Cesarini) Audette
The ships of the Viking fleet :