In Kingston, New York

Recently I spent ten days in unimaginable luxuary in Albany where me, Woody, Susie and Klara went to work on the rig. The low bridges made it impossible to keep the mast and even the dragon head up, and the ship made her way down the Erie Canal while we were working on maintenance and sleeping in a BED in an APARTMENT. The ship got her rig back and continued down the Hudson a week or so back.

Now we’re in Kingston, a small town along the Hudson River, deep in the Hudson Valley, where we have been long enough to get to know people and places around here a little. I like that. Unfortunately it means you have to leave them, but there is some strange sweetness to that as well.

Fall is coming and there is a recognizeable change in the air even if the past days have been scorchingly hot, we have tried to hide as well as possible under the awnings during open ship and maintenance work. The midday hours with the sun mercilessly beating down on us left us depleated in the afternoons, pleading the universe for clouds and overcast skies. But the trees have started to turn and last night was so cold that I had to dig up my dry sack of long wool underwear in the middle of the night, which was a stark contrast to the previous nights of sleeping in underwear with only a thin sheet. This journey is going on its last stretch and you can feel that in the air, too. Some of our old crew mates from the crossing have come back to join the ship for a little while and some more will come to New York City to see us. It is a good feeling to have them back, the ship feels more complete with them there.

In New York City we have been invited to the very prestigeous and legendary Explorer’s Club on the evening of our arrival. Everyone is of course very thrilled about this, but then we learned that we’ll be expected to wear “cocktail attire” which poses a somewhat logistical challenge for our crew. To put it in perspective, one of our members arrived a few days back on a bike which he rode from northern Vermont, all of his belongings carried on his back in a canvas backpack. There was, to my knowledge, no three-piece suit in that backpack. With many of the volunteer crew having a budget that doesn’t allow for fancy clothes and with not too many stores around here we’ve been trying our best to scavenge together an outfit for the occasion. Somehow I feel like it will only be fitting that we shiuld arrive like this, in improvised clothes very fancy to us but maybe just slightly odd to the land person observer. Myself I was lucky to take the advice given to me by a boatbuilding teacher years back: always bring a dress when travelling (unfortunately said dress has spent the past five months stuffed in the back of a long-forgotten dry sack). For shoes I’ll wear a pair of fancy men’s shoes I found in the trah on the sidewalk in Quebec. It will be spectacular.

The Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger's boat which is being restored by the Hudson River Maritime Museum next to which Draken is currently docked. Illustration: Karin Gafvelin
The Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger's boat which is being restored by the Hudson River Maritime Museum next to which Draken is currently docked. Illustration: Karin Gafvelin

The Vikings were accomplished navigators, artisans, traders and story tellers, but their greatest triumph was the ship they built.