St. Anthony, Newfoundland, Canada

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:

Sailing into St. Anthony Harbor.
Sailing into St. Anthony Harbor.
At anchor in St Anthony.
At anchor in St Anthony.
The tenders have been lowered.
The tenders have been lowered.
They are ready to start loading up.
They are ready to start loading up.
Using A deck forward for the tenders, today.
Using A deck forward for the tenders, today.
Arriving at the Tender Dock.
Arriving at the Tender Dock.
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Anne Stine and Helge Ingstad discovered the Viking Village at L’Anse aux Meadows in 1960. They spotted the undulating terrain and immediatedly suspected that they had found Vinland! They returned the next Spring and began the archaeological dig!
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The undulating indentations of the sod house foundations are what led to the hope this might be Vinland.
The tour begins with a ranger talk at the Visitors Center.
The tour begins with a ranger talk at the Visitors Center.
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Just imagine how excited Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad must have been to see this evidence of an entire village!
It was goose-bump thrilling just to walk by!
It was goose-bump thrilling just to walk by!
This is what a sod house looked like.
This is what a sod house looked like.
Inside a sod house.
Inside a sod house.
A communal room with fire.
A communal room with fire.
Sod foundations are made of peat.
Sod foundations are made of peat.
A church
A church
church interior
church interior
The Smithy
The Smithy
Women at work
Women at work
Food for tasting
Food for tasting
Games to be played.
Games to be played.
A vegetable garden
A vegetable garden
The chicken coop
The chicken coop
The pig sty
The pig sty
Bacon!
Bacon!
The Boat House
The Boat House
The building of a boat.
The building of a boat.
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The sculpture, Meeting of the Peoples, commemorating the completion of the Circle of Human Migration.
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As we returned to the tender dock, it was necessary to stop at the Dark Tickle for souvenirs!
Today, the end of day libation was aboard the ship!
Today, the end of day libation was aboard the ship!

Next, we move on to St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Leif Erikson and the Vikings

2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Sunday, July 8, 2018

In preparation for our next cruise, I’ve been reading up on the Vikings and Leif Erikson in particular.  I know we’ve all heard that Christopher Columbus never actually got to North America; although he did sail to the Bahamas, Hispaniola, and to the coasts of Central and South America.

It was the Vikings who first came across the North American continent.  Captain Bjarni Hergelfson and his crew veered off-course during a storm.  They sighted an unusual land with no fjords or icebergs.  The landscape was forested and green.  Captain Hergelfson, took detailed notes about his two sightings of the unfamiliar land but he did not go ashore.  Later, after conversing with Hergelfson, Leif Erikson bought Hergelfson’s boat; put together a crew and set off to explore the area himself.

First arriving at an area believed to be Baffin Island, Erikson continued sailing southeast for two days and came to an island with a mainland behind it.  On this land, Erikson built temporary shelters.  When the men found grapes growing wild, they named the settlement Vinland.  Today, Vinland is known as L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland.  (The ruins of this Viking settlement were found in 1963.)  Erikson left Vinland in the Spring when his men were ready to go home.  But the surprising issue is that very few people ever returned to Vinland.  Only Leif’s sister and a small group of settlers returned.  They were killed by Indians.  And so, Europe remained almost totally unaware about this discovery of the New World!

We are looking forward to this cruise.  It’s been on our bucket list for a long time.  We’ll journey to Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland and Scotland.  We’ll learn about the Vikings and their influence.

I hope you’ll join us on this new adventure!

2018-07-18 V of V itinerary map
HAL 2018 Voyage of the Vikings