On April 24 the world’s largest Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, set sail from her homeport of Haugesund, Norway to journey across the Atlantic Ocean, to explore the world as the Vikings did a thousand years ago.

Expedition America started with a dragon’s head ceremony on April 23. The dragon’s head is traditionally not mounted until departure for longer journeys and its purpose is to protect the ship and the crew from sea monsters, bad weather, evil creatures and unforeseen raids. The ship's fantastic mythological head was uncovered in the ceremony, and the great adventure of sailing the historical route was wished fair winds and following seas.


The route follows that which the Vikings took from Norway to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and finally through the Great Lakes of the U.S. No one can predict the weather, however, and the crew will stand trial for a real challenge, according to Swede Björn Ahlander, captain of Draken Harald Hårfagre:

"It's hard to say which stretch will be the toughest before we've set sail, but the area that should be respected more than anywhere else is the waters of Cape Farewell by the coast of Greenland — among the most dangerous waters of the world. It's extreamly windswept and there will probably be a lot of ice."

Draken Harald Hårfagre is a re-creation of what the Vikings would call a "great ship," built with archaeological knowledge from findings, using old boat building traditions and the legends of Viking ships from the Norse sagas. It is the largest Viking ship sailing in modern times.

The 32 bold men and women in the crew come from Norway, Sweden, USA, Canada, Estonia, Russia, Spain, France and UK, they are all under the command of Captain Björn Ahlander.

"The aim is to explore the world and embrace the Viking spirit to look beyond the horizon and seek adventure, to inspire people to take on challenges," said Sigurd Aase, owner and the man behind the project.

A few facts:
The Draken Harald Hårfagre is an open clinker-built Viking ship.
Hull: Oak
Mast: Douglas fir
Rigg: Hemp
Sail: Silk

115 feet from stem to stern
26 feet wide
78 feet mast
260 square meters sail

Follow Expedition America at http://www.drakenexpeditionamerica.com and http://www.facebook.com/drakenharaldharfagre
All dates are approximate, due to fair winds and following seas.

April 24 --- Haugesund, Norway
May 3 --- Reykjavik, Iceland
May 16 --- Quqortoq, Greenland
June 1 --- St Antony, Newfoundland, Canada
June 15 --- Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
July 1-3 --- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
July 8 --- Fairport Harbor, Ohio, USA
July 14 --- Bay City, Michigan,USA
July 27 --- Chicago, Illinois, USA
August 5 --- Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA
August 18 --- Duluth, Minnesota, USA
September --- Oswego, NY Canals, New York, USA
September --- New York City, New York, USA
October --- Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, USA

If in New York, prepare for the visits by going to Vikings in Times Square the Viking exhibition at the Discovery Museum on Times Square.