Gibbous moon paints the seascape of the Northern way, bioluminescent algae cast splintering laceration of light in the cold and dark waters. Ahead, orange hue as cirrus clouds drifts so they can reveal an almost touchable Milky Way, just like Dali painted directly onto the night sky. A northerly gust fills the headsail of the yacht Barba and the boat surges ahead into the big waves.
The captain of the yacht, Norwegian sailor, adventurer, and marine biologist Andreas B. Heide shares that this is exactly what the Vikings would have experienced over a thousand years ago.
A Great Journey to The Northern Way
Colonized by the Vikings in the 9th century, the Northern islands that make up the Shetland archipelago seem to be a great spot to embark on a Norse-style adventure with friends Tom Neish and Mathew Robertson from Momentum Life. After a 12-hour drive from London, the islands that compose the northernmost point of Great Britain are incredibly treeless, weather hardened, and windswept. They are home to a little over 20,000 inhabitants.
Serpentine roads cut through the landscape as they roll through farmland and stone villages on their way to Lerwick, which is the capital city of Shetland. Over the final crest, a person can look down into the harbor and spot the familiar shape of Barba rock gently at her mooring. There, captain Heide prepares for the 34-hour expedition back to home. However, unlike his ancestors, he is leading a group of Brits across the North Sea and exploring his homeland. It is something like a Viking voyage but in reverse.
Marine life in the Shetland Islands is abundant, and Heide has spent countless weeks exploring its coastal waters for transient orcas who settle in these lands to feed on seals between May and August. However, there is way more here too, like minke, sperm and humpback whales, and white-sided dolphins, to name just a few.
The Mysteries of The Northern Way
Heide notes that the diverse topography, in combination with strong currents, ranging sheltered bays and steep cliffs, makes it a safe haven for a wide range of species. Traveling from the Shetland Islands to Norway, the Viking way offers a great pace of travel, which nowadays is rarely experienced and personifies the adage that’s in the journey itself, not the destination. This is what truly matters, but it’s also about the people you travel with too. Camaraderie grows, friendships are formed, and laughter always flows freely. Colonizing and raiding in the Northern way aside, one can’t help but wonder if the Vikings ever felt the same way.