No, you weren’t imagining things; that really was a Viking dragon ship you spied sailing down the mighty Hudson River this week.
The Draken Harald Hårfagre (Dragon Harald Fairhair in English), a oaken vessel with red sails and a fierce beast glaring from its bow, left its home port of Haugesund, Norway in April, crossed the Atlantic, traversed waterways in Canada and meandered around the Great Lakes before heading down the Hudson.
In 2014, the boat made its first ocean-going voyage from Norway to Liverpool, England, and back.
Dragons were carved on the bow and stern by superstitious seagoers intent on frightening off evil spirits.
It spent several days docked at the Hudson River Maritime Museum on “The Rondout,” Kingston’s historic waterfront district, a former maritime village in Ulster County.
It left early Thursday for Haverstraw in Rockland, but was unable to dock because of an extremely low tide. Expedition manger Luke Snyder said Friday there is a large sandbar just outside the marina’s basin.
“We were afraid of getting hung up on it,” he said.
Instead, the Draken moseyed on over to the Half Moon Bay in Croton-on-Hudson, where the crew spent the night.
They are now at the Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, preparing for their sail to North Cove Marina in lower Manhattan Saturday, Snyder said.
According to drakenexpeditionamerica.com, the longship will be in New York City until Monday, Sept. 26.
Its arrival in the Big Apple will be marked with a grand welcoming ceremony filled with speeches and Nordic entertainment.
The ship will pass the Statue of Liberty around 11 a.m. and will dock at the New York City marina.
Expedition folks are very serious about calling The Draken an authentic ship and not a replica. The 32-person crew of the open, 115-foot ship battled storms, icebergs and many other challenges along the way, its website says.
The Draken has visited numerous ports and been visited by thousands along the route. The voyage’s intent, the expedition website says, is to spread the word about Vikings, the craftsmanship of boat building, and “the pursuance of ideas.”
Capt. Björn Ahlander said the first goal was to get across the ocean in one piece, following the historic route of the Norse Vikings. Sailing into the New York City is the official grand finale, but the ship also is scheduled to travel to Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Conn., later.
Ahlander said he was “extremely satisfied” with the vessel’s “seaworthiness.”
“The old construction has fulfilled all expectations,” he said.
The crew is to be commended, the captain said, for enduring many hardships, including “five months in very cold, as well as hot, environments.”
“They have made an amazing achievement,” he said.
Deck tours of The Draken are set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Thursday 22, Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25.
Tickets are available in the exhibition area in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. They are $10 for adults (age 18 and up) and $5 for children (ages 6 to 17).
The ship will be docked in North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place, 250 Vesey St., just west of One World Trade Center.
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