October 1, 2018

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum hosts the remarkable Draken Harald Harfargre voyaging from Norway.

For three days in September, we were fortunate to have the Draken in our harbor docked at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. She is the largest operating Viking ship in the world, a stunning example of an ancient art built, as her website says, "using old boatbuilding traditions and the legends of Viking ships from the Norse sagas."

Constructed in Norway, she was launched in 2012 to recreate the Viking "Great Ship" experience. In 2016, the 115 foot craft left the Norwegian port of Haugesund to retrace the path of Viking discovery of the New World more than a thousand years ago. The course took Draken to the Shetland Islands, then across the North Atlantic via the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and Quebec.

After touring the ship, we purchased a video being sold by the crew that documents its voyage from Norway. Beautifully done, we came away with two impressions. First, the the captain and many of the crew seem relieved if not surprised they weren't lost at sea and able to bring Draken across some of the most treacherous waters in the world without it being blown over in a storm. Second, if and when Draken returns to Norway, it may be aboard a container ship.

To get a sense of what sailing Draken in the open ocean is like, check out the trailer above. Not for the faint of heart. Note the horizontal crosspiece at the top of the mast which is called the yard. It weighs two tons, a considerable mass to be clocking back and forth that far above the waterline in a heaving sea.

When Draken left St. Michaels, she headed down the Miles River at sunset. We followed her in the failing light to the Eastern Bay and made the images you see below. A comparatively peaceful journey that evening.

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