The Vikings in North Sea

The Vikings in the North Sea crew of Odin's Raven did their Norse ancestors proud


In remembrance of the Vikings who made "the voyage of a lifetime" possible - some have passed away to join "Odin at Valhalla"


The Brave Vikings with the Governor John Paul, Isle of Man



 The Viking Voyagers and Odin's Raven


Trondheim

Sunday, May 27th arrived in rain and The Raven and its crew were ready.

The bishop of Trondheim presented a stone to be laid in the cathedral of Peel as an act of Christian brotherhood.

After hammering of a copper nail in the boats prow for each crew member, slowly the Raven sailed out the Trondheim fjord towards the North Sea.

Cheering Norwegians in a flotilla of boats followed the Raven with siren blasts that announced the start of the great adventure.

Sailing south at around eight knots the crew saw the Fembörings, Munin and Siste Viking bearing down on them.

The skipper of Munin was allowed to board the Raven, where he duly covered the Dragon-head while shields along sides were removed.

A great cheer from all the Vikings owed the Raven as it sailed out Trondheim fjord. The epic voyage back into time had started.


Kjörsvik

For a few hours the Raven pulled into safety by the hamlet Kjörsvik and the crew got some rest.

With the morning light the Raven was eased away from Kjörsvik with a course westward and the sun came through the mist.

The course was set westward. Quickly the sky became overcast and the swell of the sea became intense-the wind changed to drive the Raven and the Vikings north instead of the western course.

By share luck a Norwegian trawler appeared and handed over a gift of fresh fish.

The skipper explained about the gale warnings and was asked (by a Norwegian) to give a strong warning (in English) that the coast guard would appear with a Large Fee for trying to start crossing to Shetland with this gale warning.

After this the course was set to Aalesund after the trawler and safety behind the islands.

Perhaps Odin and Thor smiled upon ship and the Vikings and the copper nails in the ships prow had paid dividends.


Aalesund

The ship was moored for the night at Aalesund. In an interview by Sunnmörsposten Eddie explained simply that it was necessary to ride out a gale in the open sea and nobody does so off a lee shore with good shelter twenty miles away. Aalesund had nothing to fear and any rape and pillage would be carried out as peacefully as possible. One of our main targets was bath, as we did not want people to smell us before they could see the Vikings.

At the time this was said he did not know of the loss of two large yachts with only one of three survivors in what would have been our position if we had continued westwards after meeting the fishing boat 12 hours before.

Instead of being lost on the North Sea we were invited to Circus Arnardo to the nights performance.


The next morning we started on the course against Stadt-landet. The log was reading 185 heading down Heissafjord to Breisund to (under) bridge between Rimöy and Bolandet. Passing at 1000 into Voldsundet, log reading 205.7.

After a short breakfast and phone calls we left 1135 into Heröyfjord.

1330 we set course for Rovdefjord and Haugsfjord.

In the next hour the sea increased as the lee of Stadtlandet disappeared.

Here the Raven was in confused sea, rising and falling and started taking in water. It was soon quite clear that we could make no way to southwest.

When close to the land where the Vikings used to start their voyages to Shetland (Stadt means start) we again had to face the elements. The wind came with strong white topped waves from west.


Honningsvaag
The ship and the Vikings had to seek shelter and  soon found Honningsvaag.

Very friendly inhabitants entertained the crew with barbeque on the beach and lent out cabins with beds on moored fishing boats.

The weather conditions forced the crew to stay in Honningsvaag. (like many of the Viking crews had to do in the past)

The 31th of May the weather conditions were ideal for setting sail on the western course against Shetland. We started out with school-children waving enthusiastically from the hillside above Honningsvaag.

A light-south-easterly breeze and a smiling sky gave good conditions for the voyage to our first appointment the oilrigs…

 

There is an oil right forward one watch man cried- and the ship sailed close to the Brent rig where a rubber boat came with supplies of coca cola and ice cream etc…


Lerwick, Shetland

The weather was good (close to ideal) with sun and light wind and the eighty miles was forged to Lerwick Harbour.

There the inhabitants gave a fantastic welcome with bedrooms in private homes (each crew-man had been allocated to a Shetland host) - receptions and a grand time was had by all the Vikings.

The Up-Helly-Aa Vikings invited to the Galley Shed for first toast of Shetland hospitality. In the evening (after bath and some rest) we reassembled for a reception and had good food, drinks and conversations with the friendly people.

The geographical position and the historical inheritance of the Viking Earls which explains the very special relation to Norway which one feels everywhere in Shetland.

 

The Vikings among very friendly locals

 Sanct Magnus Cathedral with Map of the early Norse Viking rulers of the Hebrides and Kings of Mann and the Isles


Kirkwall

On June the 5th a course was set against the Orkney Islands the capital of the Viking empire of the Northern Isles of Britain-100 miles away.

Odd served a meal of steaks and wine and was popular the whole day. There were talks about the old Viking jarls, among them Jarl Sigurd Silk-beard…

Kirkwall appeared through rain on June the 6th and we were met by lots of cheering people and we soon forgot the rain. The crew were housed with the local people and all had good days among very nice good-hearted people.

 


Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in Outer Hebrides

Again we had to leave very warm and friendly people and the course to Stornoway took the Raven and the Vikings around Cape Wrath, the entrance to the North Minch with fierce tidal races.

We passed the Isle of Egilsay and brought remembrance of the great Norse Viking Jarl Magnus who was murdered there by his cousin Haakon. (Magnus became Saint 20 years after)

We certainly did visit The Saint Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.

The weather was nice with sun and good sailing wind and all had a good day (Odin smiled at his Raven and we had a tranquil trip) as someone called it…

We were accompanied by a flock of beautiful dolphins following us almost into Stornoway harbour.

Knut Olav was blowing his Viking horn for all he was worth, declaring the longboats entry into the harbour: The Vikings are coming!

On this occasion folks had nothing to fear, dragon head and shields were covered.

The Raven crew were welcomed and royally entertained for 36 hours...

After a traditional dram at the harbourmasters office, the crew was distributed between three billets:

An old peoples home - A school hostel - and a home for battered wives.

This had to cause some careful thoughts-it was far from the private housing we got on Shetland and the Orkneys.

Later a joyous reunion with a complete reception at the hotel with piper, songs and interchange of stories…

After s short rest a raid of one of the primary schools took place and “some enjoyed victims” were taken off to sea in the Raven for “Ransom autographs.” Reluctantly they were released soon after, hopefully with good memories of the friendly Vikings.

Some silly decision about leaving for Skye at 2200, after a good dinner was taken. A rowing sound test by a BBC-crew was to be held!! 

This gave some misunderstandings (lack of information) between rowers and BBC. It showed a total disrespect for the crew and bad words flew in the air.

After some arguing–we soon got a peaceful night and you could only hear the sound of oars at moderate pace and low conversation.



Portree on the Isle of Skye

The most turbulent waters were behind the Vikings in the Raven longship and the weather was good with smoothly running sea and blue sky, until before Portree, the rain came tumbling upon us. We were soon shepherded by small boats that followed and led us to Portree Harbour.

The Raven with the Vikings were welcomed by a large crowd and a pipe band dressed in Highland finery…

A very friendly and good place we felt at once.

Later a disaster struck Odins Raven and a crew of 6 persons, sailing with a following boat with BBC personel…

Thankfully none of the crew were lost, or injured but much equipment was lost.

The stone from Trondheim Cathedral had been fastened by a rope in the bottom of the Raven (by a Norwegian) and was still safe.

We can speculate if Odin sent Thor out blowing the sudden hard wind that capsized the Raven with a crew just watching the sea fill the boat.

After being towed to the harbour, the ship was moored upright on the shore along the quay and when the tide changed she could be lensed of water to a floating position again. The local fire-brigade helped with a small motor-pump to save the crew from using buckets... There was lots of cleaning work to be done, overhauling of engine, repairing and replacing of many things… 

Many locals were very, very helpful! Thank you again!

 

 

Tobermory Isle of Mull

The 19th of June the voyage started south with “ship shape” overhauled engine and the right ballast put in place.

The Vikings on board had got a bit more respect for each other after the capsize and (had intentions to?) were working better as a crew on a small Wessel on a great ocean…

The weather was clear and hot with a calm sea and it gave the crew training with the oars.

Soon a fresh wind filled the sail to the Isle of Mull and Tobermory Bay were we arrived June 21st.

The morale was high among the Vikings during a champagne banquet that evening on Western Isles Hotel.

Friday 22th we departed for Oban and we arrived after 8 hours sailing.

 

Oban

After arrival at Oban another hearty reception waited the crew.

The rain was pouring down, but a lot of people was waiting to give us many hours of feast and good memories.

We left Oban 1500 on June 25th in blustery rain.

 

Port Ellen

Time was now of importance so the Raven was steered to open sea again to the Isle of Islay, destination Port Ellen.

Close to Isle of Jura after Corryvreckan Whirlpool the crew was joined on the voyage by three small kayaks with two women and a man. They were all over fifty years old demonstrating that the spirit of adventure lives on in the heart of travellers.

The Norse Viking crew spent three days on the island being treated very well, dined and wined by inhabitants.

The Viking crew was invited to a trip on the Royal Navy's HMS Odin, a patrolling submarine craft which was Odin's Ravens adopted sister ship.

We were taken to a grave believed by the inhabitants of the islands to be Godred Crovan's, first Norse king of Man and the Western Isles.

We left a bunch of flowers on the tombstone before resuming our voyage.

Perhaps fierce old Viking Crovan smiled down from his place in Valhalla, to the visitors to his graves side -wishing a safe voyage to Isle of Man (home for some)and the Norse Vikings back to Norway.

 

Portpatrick

We sailed on a course south through the North channel between Ireland and Scotland with good wind aft and the current with us. The good speed caused arrival in Portpatrick early in the morning 0300 and  (some of) the Norse Viking crew slept on the boat and quay side.

Later we moved to Portpatrick Hotel...

We stayed in Portpatrick until July 3rd.

 

Peel

On a cloudless sky July 4th the Vikings sailed to their final destination Peel on the Isle of Man. The longboat was sailed back and forth outside Peel to allow the thousands of sightseers in the harbour to see the Raven sailing in might and beauty before its entry to Peel harbour.

1800 hours the keel crunched into the beach outside the harbour to meet the cheering crowd that swarmed seaward to greet us.

The Norse Viking crew of Odin's raven had done their ancestors proud.

Odin's Raven became a celebrity and was exhibited outside British Museum in London for millions.

Also, she was at South Street Maritime Museum, Wall Street, New York City.

 


The vikings were joined by 3 kayak paddlers-2 brave women and a man

Viking visit to Laphroaigh Distilleries and receiving gift



Arni, Thorrald, Sven, Paul, Grettir, Harald,

The SEA WOLF is out of the shed, new tar on her hull.

The rollers are under the keel.

The women have put ale, salt meat, and bread on board.

As soon as the wave runs clean from Birsay

We will leave the Orkneys behind us,

The scarred hills and the creeled sounds,

And tonight we will lie at the mouth of a Scottish river.

Our voyage lies west this year.

We have heard of many places with good trade

And all the merchants who live there.

The churches have had enough of our swords,

And the girls who weave their words into curse or spell.

The viking voyage does not lie east this summer



Odin was the Vikings one-eyed bloodcurdling God of battle, death and witchcraft. He presided over Valhalla, the legendary pleasure palace where the heroic Viking warriors slain on the battlefield would rest and feast in eternity.

The viking God Odin was also known as: "the wise, prudent, sagacious polished and sophisticated god"


The 32-oar Gokstad ship has a seaworthy design suggesting she may originally have been built for ocean voyages more than for ceremonial purposes.

The first replica of the Gokstad ship managed to cross the Atlantic in just 28 days in 1893. The Vikings often used one and the same vessel for fighting, raiding and traiding.

Magnar Hansen:

“The Vikings must have been very skilled. They had little equipment, but we can’t do much better today than they did in handling their planking, keel, beams and lashings.”

The life on Odin’s Raven will be much the same as a thousand years ago. The crew will live on dried meat supplemented with cornflakes, fried eggs and hamburgers from a small gas stove.


How did you sleep? “We simply snatched ten minutes every ten”

Audience with King Olav 5

Visiting Vikingeskipshallen-Roskilde "Ai"-Allan-Eddie-Robin-Charlott

“We simply snatched ten minutes every ten”

“We simply snatched ten minutes every ten” 

The "PR-stunt attack" on DFDS-ferry Copenhagen-Oslo

"Glenlivet" happiness - sooo many barrels!

One of the sunny voyage days

Ship-shape duty in Portree

Crew waiting for the Queen (Lord of Man) on Isle of Man

Family and Vikings in Peel harbour

Among friends in Peel

Bilge-rat no 1 has arrived (in helicopter!)

Crew on steps of harbour- in Portpatrick

Brother John on the Sea-king from Bodö

25 years reunion at Laxey and the Viking Ships Museum-House of Manannan-Peel

Happy "old crew members"

The Semper Fi Medals

On horseback at Moesgaard Museum's Viking exhibition

HMS Odin and Odins Raven Ancient and modern by Shane Lucas



Odins Raven finally-with loving care-established in her own museum House of Manannan


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