It was said of old in The Havamal that, ” Wake early if you want another man’s life or land. No lamb for the lazy wolf. No battle’s won in bed. ” It is with this doctrine that the students of the Maritime Archaeology Programme of the University of Southern Denmark met Professor Bo Ejstrud early on campus at Esbjerg to go not only on a trip down the road but also one through time to the Bork Vikingehavn to learn how to row a replica of the clinker built boats that made the vikings so famous.
This is a field excursion which is offered every year to the students at the University of Southern Denmark. Upon arriving at the Vikingehavn the students where given a brief introductory lecture by a true viking, (allbeit one who looked like he had his garments drycleaned after the last battle). The students listened intently as the boat and the methods of propulsion were discussed.
After becoming oriented to port and starboard the students joined the viking and Bo onboard the boat and began the slow and sometimes erratic row out of the harbor to the open sea. After the first kilometer of travel the students picked up a rythm. After about 45 minutes the newly indoctrinated vikings beached their craft on a small island in the harbor, (sadly there were no women or beer to pillage), but we all enjoyed a hearty break and snack before the row back the museum for further instruction on what it meant to be a viking.
Once we had had a second break for a proper lunch the students enjoyed learning how to use the rigging on the small fishing boats of the Faroe Islands. The viking was quick to help us go through and explain everyhting. The students had fun learning about the tack and how to perform the turning of sailing ships. We also gained hands on experience in knot making. This was all in preparation for sailing one of the larger viking boats at a later date. All in all it was a great day with lots of fun and sun and good company.
Jason Lain Lunze