Viking ship and crew arrives in Québec City
QUEBEC CITY – The Draken Harald Harfagre is a modern day Viking ship that left Norway at the end of April with the goal of crossing the Atlantic Ocean and it’s now docked in Québec City.
The Draken and its crew of 30 traveled to Iceland, then Greenland through all types of weather.
At the helm is a lifelong sailor and captain who came out of retirement for this unusual adventure.
“It was windy. It was stormy. It was calm. It was a lot of waves,” explained Draken Captain, Bjorn Ahlander.
“And we were also sailing in a lot of ice and ice bergs.”
When asked if Ahlander feels like a Viking now, he chuckled.
“No, no, we are not, but we have done the historic voyage,” he said.
“It also proved that this ship was seaworthy and that it was good construction. Of course it’s very old, but the ship behaves very good.”
On June 1st – after 36 days on the ocean – the Draken finally arrived in Newfoundland and just this week, it made its way to Quebec City.
Tourists will be able to tour the boat on June 16th.
Half of the crew members are made up of volunteers, chosen from 4,000 people from around the world who applied to work aboard the Draken.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to sail a Viking ship across the North Atlantic,” said Kassu Karu, a volunteer from Estonia in explaining why she wanted to take part.
“It’s fantastic,” said Arald Nilesn, a boat builder by trade who is also part of the crew.
“To know all the people on board, we have a very close relationship. We have to live in a very small place.”
The crew slept in a tent – not more than two-thirds of them, at the same time.
“I think the most specific thing about this ship is it’s an open ship. There’s not a lot of inside space, so when you’re not currently sleeping, you’re outside,” Karu said.
In such tight quarters, they learned to rely on each other and themselves.
“I have learned about myself that I am tougher than I thought,” said Karu.
“The thing that I was most afraid of, that I would be freezing and that I would be miserable – and I was freezing sometimes and it was cold. It was hard, but it was survivable.”
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