Vikings Explore Hudson Bay

Viking exploration of Hudson Bay will continue in 2013 when descendants of the first Viking voyagers to reach North America 1,000 years ago sail into the Arctic from Churchill, Manitoba.

Jóhann Straumfjord Sigurdson and David Collette, whose ancestral grandmother was Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir, the mother of Snorri, the first European child born in North America, will sail from Canada to Iceland along a route that was old before Christopher Columbus was born.

“We’ve named the expedition Fara Heim”, said Jóhann Sigurdson. “In Old Norse, “að fara heim” means “to go home”. We are searching for Norse presence in the Arctic between Hudson Bay and west of Greenland to investigate how far West the Vikings explored”. The team will use non-damaging modern techniques to collect data and do no harm to artefacts or locations found. All information and any discoveries will be digitally recorded and shared with government agencies for formal archaeological investigation.

The expedition will work closely with the Inuit people and Nordic countries as Fara Heim is a story of many Arctic cultures. “We have begun reaching out to everyone we can in the North to ask for local knowledge and stories. Incredible things have been found, like the Viking settlement in Newfoundland, by just asking. We plan to make the Fara Heim website the nexus for information on Viking exploration in North America”, said Collette.

The modern Vikings will voyage via the far travelled “Glory of the Sea”, a purpose-built aluminium polar expedition sailing boat. “Glory” has been to both Poles, circumnavigated the globe twice and travelled the Northwest Passage in 2011. “The deck of a small sailing vessel is the perfect platform to see the Arctic as the Vikings saw it. “Glory” will get us to locations that aren’t normally visited”, said Sigurdson.

Fara Heim’s advisory board includes Captain Norm Baker, the First Mate and Navigator for several of Thor Heyerdahl’s expeditions and a current Director of the Explorers Club, Guy Maddin, film Director and Producer, and Charles Hedrich, global explorer and founder of “Respectons La Terre” a European organisation dedicated to exploration with an environmental focus. Key archaeologists and historians are joining the board to develop the field data collection protocols, aid in historical research and ensure all field investigations maintain the integrity of the site for further field work.

The team and sailing boat will be based on Lake Winnipeg for the summer of 2012 for crew training and boat preparation and depart from Churchill in May 2013. To support the non-profit Fara Heim organisation corporate sponsorships are being developed. “Travel with a purpose” opportunities for individuals to participate on the journey are available in both 2012 and 2013.

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