Past and Current Vikings

L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland

Way, way up here on the North Atlantic Coast, Leif Erickson and Gang stormed ashore 1000 years ago. L’Anse is a place you may remember from elementary/high school history – because this was where archeologists found in 1960 definitive relics of a Viking village in N. America. The Norse bad boys (and some women too, turns out) made forays to Labrador and New Brunswick for wood, fur, and iron, but home was L’Anse. Well, at least for decade, when they decided that the Native Americans were too hard to deal with and they went back to Greenland.

This is a very very cool UNESCO site with sod long houses, etc. But rather than prattling on, I’ll leave you with some pix from Randy and a great piece on the Vikings in National Geographic you might have seen in March 2017.

Let’s move on to the Current Vikings on this tip of Newfoundland – the men that tame the seas to bring us shrimp, crab, and turbot. We came upon Chad and Gang while prowling the dock in St. Anthony and asking – of course too many – questions. Cleaning their nets for shrimping, they were getting ready for a 3-day trip and were happy to yak.


Fishing in the North Atlantic is dangerous work AND highly regulated. But at least it is now diversified. This wasn’t the case when we visited in the 80’s, when cod fishing was all-important (as it had been for 5 centuries). In 1992 the Canadian government shut the cod fishing industry down due to overfishing and it still hasn’t come back.

So Chad’s father and now Chad have shifted to other fish we love to eat. Regulation is still a sensitive topic here, since the moratorium put 30,000 out of work with “the stroke of of a pen.” I was tempted to ask Chad why they didn’t just try a Viking raid on the feds. But instead I told him I was glad they were now fishing for crabs, too, since the crab nets are really cool – they look like lampshades. See below.

_H7A4491_H7A4622_H7A4506Diversifying has helped saved the day for these fisherman. Wonder if they might consider a Chinese flight training school?



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