A Modern Day Viking Voyage Follows Historic Norse Routes

A crew from Wisconsin has completed a sea journey that has not been regularly made in hundreds of years. Following the Viking sea routes, Dean Rau and the crew of his ship, the Raven, set sail from Bayfield Wisconsin to head for Bergen, Norway, before turning back around to make the return trip.

The incredible adventure began in May of 2010. Dean along with fellow members of the Great Lakes Cruising Club, Paul Lundberg and Paul Zadel, departed Bayfield in Rau’s 40 foot cutter. The crew traveled across the Great Lakes and left inland waters via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The ship then made it’s way across the Gulf of St. Lawrence in route for New Foundland, where they restocked the boat, before finally making their transatlantic passage in June of the same year.

The return journey began in 2014: “We sailed from island to island following the old Norse and Viking route including stops in Iceland and Greenland,” Rau explained,  “While the focus has been on the trans ocean part of the journey, distance-wise sailing from Labrador up the Saint Lawrence across the Great Lakes and back to Bayfield represented nearly half of the 4,000 miles we traveled.”


Rau’s incredible journey has given him a unique, first hand perspective of the environments of the North Atlantic, as well as look into the historical passages Scandinavian explorers made so many years ago. Through his experience, he has learned about the various dangers the Vikings may have faced, and expresses feelings of relief that those perils are now behind him. In the future, he also hopes that others will have the same opportunity he did in order to better understand the complexities of North Atlantic waterways.

Although, at the moment, Rau does not have any plans for additional Trans Atlantic voyages, he is currently giving lectures in his local community about his adventure. Those with an interest in the effects of global warming will be particularly captivated by his story.