Vikings are back!

Harald Hårfagre reaches Canada after a challenging journey across the Atlantic

Photo: Draken Harald Hårfagre / Facebook The ship passes icebergs in the Bay of Labrador.

Photo: Draken Harald Hårfagre / Facebook
The ship passes icebergs in the Bay of Labrador.

The Local

The world’s largest Viking ship in modern times has reached Canada after a challenging journey across the Atlantic, departing Scandinavian shores in late April.

Björn Ahlander, the ship’s Swedish captain, ordered the great dragon vessel—named after Harald Hårfagre, the king who unified Norway in the 10th century—to drop anchor at St Anthony in Newfoundland, Canada, on June 1, after more than a month at sea.

“I am proud of the men and what we have achieved en route. It has not been easy. We have encountered many problems on the trip, but the crew has remained in good spirits and has worked hard all the way,” he told reporters.

Following in the historical tailwind of Leif Eriksson, the Viking thought to have discovered America centuries before Christopher Columbus, the ship left Norway’s Avaldsnes on April 26, taking a route via the Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Iceland, and Greenland.

The journey offered stark contrasts, with the crew battling winds, ice, and rain—but also calm waters, sunshine, and even the wedding of two of its crew members on Greenland.

Harald Hårfagre is equipped with modern navigational tools, but also historical aids such as log lines and magnetic and solar compasses. It was accompanied by another boat during the Atlantic crossing, on standby to rescue the 33-strong crew on board if things had gone awry.

An impressive 35 meters long, eight meters wide, and with a mast height of 24 meters, Harald Hårfagre is the world’s biggest longship built in modern times. Sponsored by Norwegian businessman Sigurd Aase, it was completed in 2012.

From St. Anthony the ship sails onwards to Québec, Toronto, and several places in the United States.

To follow Draken Harald Hårfagre’s progress, visit, or follow it on Facebook (, Instagram (, or Youtube (

This article was originally published on The Local.

It also appeared in the June 17, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.