We’re all in the same boat


Lasse watching the wind in the sail, ready with the mid sheet rope

Our days are measured by the sunrise and sunset, the stars and the tides.

It’s Saturday and we have been sailing for a whole week. I just had to check which day it was as time has no place on our ship.  I have been trying to write something on this blog for a few days but life at sea on a Viking ship makes it difficult, we are so far from civilisation, modern technology is not as reliable as when on land. But I have been documenting the goings on with my camera. What is most difficult to capture are the sensations. As the ship sways from left to right if you’re working you dance with it, back and forward, if you’re sitting it gently rocks you to sleep. If you’re lying down on deck trying to get some shut eye you can hear the boat’s timbers creaking with the heaving waves below. When the sail is raised first it flaps as if throwing a wild tantrum fighting in an effort to free itself from all the ropes that are tethering it to this old boat. There is a hand on the end of every rope, waiting for the commands as they are passed from the aft to the fore ship, and back to the mid ship.


Old friends, Preben and Nils holding the sheet in the aft. We were sailing through Øresund flanked by lines spiralling wind turbines.


Markus and the others attempted to push the boat from shore in shallow waters in Skuledev

The commands are all in Danish, my ship Danish is improving immensely, but then I find we have different words for things on board then we do on land. For example “skaffer” is the verb to eat, but it’s only used on the ship, the regular verb that’s used on land is “spiser”. So when I step off the boat, swaying with land sickness and a marrow deep urge to step back on to the ship to steady myself, the conversations around me once again become incomprehensible. Today we went to a supermarket  to replenish our provisions and after just one week it was a culture shock – TOO MUCH! Signs everywhere, people wearing clean clothes with pale faces. The ship’s tribe now have rosey red cheeks that get even rosier when we step indoors. We look like a sea fairing people after just seven days at sea.

Runa and Solvej holding the tact oars, leading the rowing rythm from the aft.


Nils is over 70 years old he has travelled far and wide, has had three wives and lived with Amazonian tribes. At least they are the stories he shared with me when showing me the ropes.

We have done two overnight sails, they are both magical to experience and exhausting. Watching the sun set over distant shores and counting the stars to the sound track of the beating waves helps rock you to sleep and forget the wind and dampness that seeps into your bones. The best way to get to sleep is to find a wool blanket and two warm bodies to sandwich yourself between. Sixty people on a 30 metre ship is a tight squeeze and helps teach you to be more generous with your personal space. The intimacy to so touching. Holding someone close to keep warm and or to comfort their sea sickness brings out a compassion in you. It made me wonder about the Vikings in the past and just how bonded they were to sail together, work together, build together, live so closely together. Their lives were so intertwined they were all related like a huge family not by blood but by experience.

Some of the crew catch forty winks while not on watch.


Poor Lasse who was sea sick takes a rest in the løfting.

Today we leave Korsør in Sjealand. We are sailing to a small island called where there was a prison for “loose women” who got pregnant out of wed lock, they were banished there from society. Out of sight and out of mind.

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