The Vikings have set sail and landed in their final port – invading Manhattan. The Norwegian ‘Expedition America 2016’ culminated in New York City last weekend, as the Draken Harald Harfagre docked on the Hudson River at the North Cove Marina.
Visitors and locals are invited to tour the deck of the modern Viking ship – the largest of it’s kind – while it is docked in the port until 26 September. Captain Bjorn Ahlander and his crew set sail from the port town of Haugesund in south-west Norway in late April and began their epic voyage across the Atlantic ocean – stopping off at Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, Ohio, Chicago and Wisconsin along the way.
“The aim of the expedition was to replicate the “first transatlantic crossing’ made by Viking explorer Leif Erikkson, who discovered America over 500 years before Christopher Columbus did. The main goal when we started this voyage, was to cross the North Atlantic Ocean in a safe manner, following the historic route of the Norse Vikings. Next goal was to visit the Great Lakes. We managed that too. Our final goal is now to sail into New York,” Ahlander told reporters.
“I am extremely satisfied with the seaworthiness of the ship. This old construction has fulfilled all expectations. I am also tremendously proud over the crew that has endured five months in very cold, as well as hot environments. They have made an amazing achievement,” Captain Ahlander said recently. Construction began on the ‘greatest Viking ship of modern times’ in Haugesund in 2010 and it made it’s maiden ocean voyage in 2013 on a return journey to Liverpool in England. The large, 115-foot, intricately detailed wooden ship is hard to miss from its Manhattan bay – just a short distance from the World Trade Centre – as it is adorned with a 3200-square-foot sail.
Deck tours are open to the public for a small fee and are being run from 11 am to 6 pm until 22 September and then again on 24 and 25 September.