2018 HAL Voyage of he Vikings
Monday, August 20, 2018
Perhaps you remember the story of Bjarni Herjolfsson. “Around 985, he was blown off course from Greenland, and made a chance sighting of land to the west. Some 15 years later, Leif Eriksson set out from the Eastern Settlement in Greenland to investigate Bjarni’s sighting. Sailing to the northwest, he first came upon a land of bare rock and glaciers which he called Helluland (Slab Land). Sailing south he next reached a low, forested land. This he called Markland (Wood Land), Leif pressed on still further south and spent a winter in a land with a mild climate, where grapes grew wild and rivers teemed with salmon. Leif called this Vinland (Wine Land).
The locations of his discoveries will probably never be established with absolute certainty. Helluland was probably Baffin Island; Markland was almost certainly Labrador. Identifying Vinland is more difficult. The only Norse settlement so far discovered in North America is at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, but this is too far north to fit the saga descriptions. Vinlalnd probably lay south of the Gulf of St Lawrence, the approximate northern limit of the wild grapes, but north of Cape Cod, the southern limit of the Atlantic Salmon.” (Cited from The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings, 1995, John Haywood, author.) It is more likely that L’Anse aux Meadow was a staging settlement for transport and repair. But nobody knows for sure!
We anchored in St. Anthony harbor around 7:00am. By 8:30am, we had tendered to shore and were on the van operated by Danny’s Airbus ready to visit L’Anse aux Meadows and Norsted, the re-created village with re-enactors to tell the stories (5-hour tour, 95.00 CAD/pp). After a 30-minute drive, we were there! L’Anse aux Meadows is both a National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So designated because it’s one of the major archaeological finds in the world. The significance lies in what has been learned about the worldwide movements of people. The Norsemen were the first Europeans to come in contact with the Aboriginal Peoples of North America, thus completing the Circle of Human Migration.
We’ll let the photos tell the story:
Next, we move on to St. John’s, Newfoundland.