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The big farewell

Published 17th Jul 2012

After 7 hours of rowing and a couple of blisters we arrived at Haithabu Friday night. We set sail for a short while close to Schleswig. It only took four minutes from the time the order ‘take in the oars’ was given until the sail was set – a slick manoeuvre!

We were met by cheers from the crew of Roar Ege and Sif Ege (both reconstructions of Skuldelev 3) as well as Lindheim Sunds (a reconstruction of Skuldelev 5) at the harbour.
We are now in Haithabu where thousands of guests are visiting the ship. The anchor watch and ship presentation group are busy showing people around on board and remembering the German they learned in school. We are part of a big Viking ship festival and Viking market that ends today, Sunday. At the camp site, behind the old Haithabu defensive earthern bank, glances are exchanged across the morning coffee – the sailors are looking amazingly at the fur and wool-dressed Viking warriors with swords, drinking horns and jewellery, whilst the Viking folk are surprised to find us without Viking clothes, but smelling of tar in our offshore waterproofs. Yesterday we all sat around a camp fire listening to good music, despite the difference in culture and interests.

This morning we changed the crew and said goodbye. Some are going home and others are coming to sail. For those of us that are sailing all three weeks it is a strange feeling. We had just come to know each other, reached that point where we went from small talk to more personal stories, the humour was more intimate and we were completely relaxed with each other. 
There’s no privacy on board a long and narrow ship with a large crew; nowhere to be on your own. We get to know each other for good and bad. And after 6 days of rain, coffee at the spare rudder, cosy chats at the shrouds and beers around the camp fire, it seems like we have always known each other.
Now we are sort of starting over, saying goodbye and welcoming new crew at the same time.

For those of you that are going home; thanks for an enriching week – hope to see you again soon.

Tomorrow we set sail and hope to fly out of Slien heading towards Marstal or Rudkøbing.