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Inside the Draken Harald Hårfagre Viking Ship

Photos by Kristin and BL Strang-Moya

If you were staying in a hotel on Ocean City’s bayside last Wednesday evening, you may have looked out your window only to see a 115-foot long Viking ship sailing south toward the Inlet. And even if you’re familiar with El Galeon, the 17th century Spanish galleon replica that dropped anchor in Ocean City last August, the Draken traversing the waters of Delmarva was very much a sight to behold. 

Translated in English to Dragon Harold Fairhair, the Draken Harald Hårfagre was named after the first king of Norway, its native country. Construction on the ship began in March of 2010, and at 115 feet long, 26 feet wide and with a 79-foot tall mast, it is the largest Viking ship ever built in the modern era. The Draken first set sail in 2012, tentatively making its way along the coast of Norway before making its first ocean voyage to Liverpool, England in 2014.

In 2016 the ship took its first tour of North America in “Expedition America 2016,” returning now in 2018 to tour America’s East Coast. The ship sailed south from Greenport, New York before making its stop in Ocean City, and it will make additional stops in  Philadelphia, PA, Norfolk, VA, Washington, D.C. and Mystic Seaport, CT before heading back home in October. 

If you have a chance to take a tour of the Draken before it heads back north to PA, absolutely do it! The ship sails out on Wednesday morning, and tickets to tour the boat are $12 for adults and $6 for children. The photos below are just a taste of what you’ll experience on board the ship, but you won’t really start to feel like a Viking until you step foot on the Draken. 

All aboard: The ship docked on Ocean City’s bayside at 3rd Street on Wednesday, Aug. 22, and will depart the following Wednesday morning. 
The ship was inspired by real Viking ships found in Norway. Archaeological findings have shown that such ships were beautifully ornamented, hence the traditional dragon’s head at the Draken’s bow.
Visitors board the ship on a Saturday morning. 
At its Ocean City stopover, the Draken saw steady traffic every day from interested and awed onlookers.
Enter at your own risk! You might find real Vikings waiting for you on board.
And watch your step.
The Draken’s crew is made up of 34 men and women who hail from all over the world and sail as real Vikings did centuries ago. 
Back in the days of the Vikings, birds were kept on the ship and released when the crew thought they were near land. If the birds came back, they knew they had more sailing to do. Although docked on land, these birds did not go anywhere. 
Kristin is a writer and photographer in Ocean City, Maryland, and is the content manager for OceanCity.com and other State Ventures, LLC sites. She loves getting reader-submitted stories and photos, so send her an email anytime. She also works part-time at the Art League of Ocean City and the Ocean City Film Festival and lives just off the peninsula with her dog and fiancé. Her photos can be found on Instagram @oc_kristin.

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