Viking Voyage

Reporter with Guardian retracing Vikings' adventure

Mary MacKay
Published on July 18, 2014
Mary MacKay, a reporter with the Guardian, is joining a sailing expedition retracing the Vikings' voyage through the Gulf of St. Lawerence to L'Anse aux Meadows, N.L.

One thousand years after they arrived, the Vikings are still influencing our culture.

If you listen closely, perhaps you can hear them whisper.

Or perhaps it’s more of an echoing roar.

While a 1,000 years in our rearview mirror, the exploits and imprints of Viking explorers are still being felt in Canada, especially along our rugged Eastern coast.

In coming weeks, I’m setting off on a rare adventure, to try to capture the spirit — and dive into some lingering debates — about the Vikings who sailed our waters.

To kick off this modern adventure, I’ll be given a rare and exclusive opportunity to sleep at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland.

This archeological site, which was settled for a brief time by Leif Erikson and his other band of merry Viking men and a few totally awesome women, is the first stop on my Viking Voyage series that will see me retracing theseaward steps sailed by these Norsemen 1,000 years ago along the spectacular Newfoundland coast to the shores of Prince Edward Island.

Charlottetown mariner Geoff Ralling is charting this unique journey to recapture the course they might have taken that led them to the Viking version of the legendary Atlantis – none other than Vinland, or as English folk would call it, Wine Land, which some speculate is P.E.I. or at the very least a combination of it and Nova Scotia.

I’ll be along for part of that voyage.

Any land of wine is a good one indeed. On that note we will be trying out the oldest alcohol known to mankind – mead, or honey wine – in addition to trying to sew like Viking might, sail like a Viking might, eat like a Viking might and, as I mentioned before, sleep tight like a Viking might and hope no bugs – bedbug or otherwise – will bite.

Come sail along with me as I journey back into Viking time.