It is Saturday night. Skipper has just announced that we sail at 11 p.m. At that time, we should have a westerly wind that can take us the last 20 nautical miles to Malahide, where we are going to prepare the ship for our arrival in Dublin.
I talked briefly to Jesper about the atmosphere on the ship right now. Something has changed here in Port Oriel. We know that the voyage is coming to an end. We know we are going home. We know that our loved ones are waiting for us.
We have been sitting in the same boat since July 1st. One and a half months of rain, cold and a few rays of sun. We have laughed and teased each other. We have comforted each other and shouted at each other. We have sailed till our veins stood out beneath the skin, and we have dozed so much that even a walk to the grocer's seems like a challenge. We have felt tense and we have felt safe.
But now we are sailing out on what is probably our last trip under sail on the Sea Stallion. When we get to Malahide we can’t be sure that the wind will be right to carry us to Dublin. Only 20 nautical miles of sailing tonight. The shortest stretch on this voyage altogether. The journey is coming to an end.
For the first time in almost a thousand years, a Viking longship has arrived off the coast of Ireland.
A couple of hours ago I got a message from my father. He was sitting in the Irish Rover, a pub in Copenhagen. He was preparing for his first trip to Ireland with a pint of Guinness. And in Farum my girlfriend is packing her suitcase and some clean clothes for me. My father will arrive tomorrow morning and my girlfriend and eldest son late tomorrow afternoon. I can't express how I am looking forward to seeing them. Relieved that the voyage with the Sea Stallion went well. Intoxicated with the thought that I will be with my loved ones again. And with a certain feeling of unrest because I am leaving the strong sense of community on board the ship.
As Tinna, the manager of the Viking Ship Museum, said to the family-members of the crew, just before we departed from Roskilde a long time ago:
"And when your loved ones return home, they will probably be a bit distant for several weeks."
Luckily, I can sit in front of my computer and still ponder over life on board the Sea Stallion for a while, because in a couple of weeks, I have to hand in a manuscript for my book about our voyage.
And at the same time, I can enjoy spending time with my loved ones. The best of both worlds. Who can ask for more?
And I still have the arrival in Dublin to look forward to; an experience I am grateful that I can share with my girlfriend, my father and my eldest son. Because it will probably feel so huge and overwhelming that I will need several hands to hold.