“The Vinland Sagas” interpretation notes [ in square brackets ] are by Donald W, Toronto, Canada, and are of the 1965 Penguin Books translation “The Vinland Sagas – The Norse Discovery of America” – Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson.  Be sure to click on the links below to see supporting landmark and landscape photos on Flickr.

NORWAY ─ 985/6 AD // Then Bjarni said, ″This voyage of ours will be considered foolhardy, for not one of us has ever sailed the Greenland Sea.″  However they put out to sea as soon as they were ready and sailed for three days [ southwest ] until the land was lost to sight below the horizon.


Then the fair wind failed and northerly winds [ from the north ] and fog set in, and for many days they had no idea what their course was [ southwest toward Newfoundland’s Grand Banks ].  After that they saw the sun again and were able to get their bearings; they hoisted the sail [ and headed west (to Greenland) again ] and after a days sailing they sighted land.

They discussed amongst themselves what country this might be.  Bjarni said he thought it could not be Greenland.  They sailed in close and soon they could see that the country was not mountainous, but was well wooded and with low hills [ this refers to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia ].


Leaving the land on the port quarter [ left side ], after sailing for two days they sighted land once more.  Bjarni′s men asked if he thought this was Greenland yet; he said he did not think this was Greenland, ″for there are said to be huge glaciers in Greenland.″  They closed the land quickly and saw that it was flat and wooded [ this refers to Anticosti Island, Quebec ].


Bjarni ordered them to hoist sail, and they did so.  They turned the prow out to sea [ northeast across the Gulf of St. Lawrence ] and sailed before a [ from the ] south-west wind for three days before they sighted a third land.  This one was high and mountainous, and topped by a glacier [ Newfoundland’s Grose Morne and Long Range Mountains ].  They followed the coastline and saw [ at L′Anse aux Meadows ] that it was an island [ the island of Newfoundland ].

Once again they put out to sea, and sailed.  But now it began to blow a gale [ hard ] for four days sailing [ northeast to the lower west side of Greenland, the port of Brattahlid ].

March 15, 2013


Long Range Mountains – Newfoundland – on Flickr

Anticosti Island – Quebec – on Flickr

Cape Breton Island – Nova Scotia – on Flickr


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