After researching their ancestry, Dave and Penny Yager discovered they had “Viking in their blood.”
LITTLE FALLS — After researching their ancestry, Dave and Penny Yager discovered they had “Viking in their blood.”
“We found out we had Scandinavian ancestry, actually on both sides,” Penny Yager of Boonville said. “So we thought, why not bring (our grandchildren) here to give them a taste of what being a Viking means.”
And so Saturday, 5-year-old Oliver Marsh and his brother Harper, 10, waited in line with hundreds of area residents at Little Falls Marina, as they took turns boarding Draken Harald Harfagre, known as the world’s largest Viking ship.
The Draken – which means Dragon in Norwegian – is 115 feet long and 78 feet high when its mast is erect. It was created with time-period materials, such as oak, fir, hemp and silk. It’s a reconstruction of what some research shows a Viking ship from the year 1000 would look like, and based on a pair of burial ships that were found dating back to the year 900.
“We left Norway on April the 26th,” said David Short, a watch leader on board. “We sailed across the North Atlantic, by Iceland and Greenland and to Newfoundland, which is kind of like retracing … the Viking empire.”
From there, they entered the Great Lakes, sailed to Quebec and down to Chicago, where they joined a Tall Ships Festival.
“We retraced that route to see how it would be to sail a Viking ship because there’s not much known about how dangerous it is and how it feels to sail a Viking ship over the North Atlantic,” Short said. “It was very cold. You get a lot of depressions and storms coming through. You’re almost definitely going to hit bad weather, which we did, of course. Three times, in fact.”
Now, they’re sailing the canal system down to New York City, and will eventually harbor in Connecticut for the winter.
Gordon Owens has three home-schooled children who recently learned about Vikings in class.
“We thought it would be a good idea to bring them and show them what it’s really like,” Owens of Vienna said.
You can catch another peek of the ship from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the marina on Southern Avenue. Tours cost $10 for adults, $5 for children and those younger than 6 years are free.
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