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July 16, 2023: Hello, Hjemkomst! by Patrick Mathews Halmrast

Patrick Mathews Halmrast is a composer and a sound artist from Moorhead, Minnesota. While on the west coast for grad school, he suffered injuries from a car accident, so returned to Moorhead to recover.

While recovering at home, he connected with some special recordings: His father, Lynn, had been a crew member on the Hjemkomst — the modern re-creation of a Viking ship that sailed to Norway. And, it turns out, the crew had taken along an audio recorder.

The tapes gave Patrick a chance to make a combination of a documentary, audio art piece, and family memoir. Listen above.


Patrick Halmrast (PMH): In this episode I'll be speaking with my father, who was a crew member on the Hjemkomst Expedition in 1982. As this year is the 40th anniversary of the completion of the Hjemkomst Expedition, I spoke with my father about the possibility of working with the archival audio from the ship. He thought this sounded like a good idea and brought me down to meet with the archivist at the Hjemkomst Center.

The following episode chronicles my exploration and discovery of the audio that had never been heard since the expedition. As a sound artist and composer, in conjunction with the 40th anniversary, I thought that it would be a meaningful idea to put together this episode to share with the community. It is my hope that the listener’s may take this journey with me, explore through sound, and it is ultimately my hope that they may find inspiration in the story of the Hjemkomst once again, and one man and his crew ultimately achieving what once seemed like an impossible dream. Join me now won't you? This then is the Hjemkomst Expedition 40th anniversary.

(PMH): Okay - picking up where we left off, here - see what else we’re gonna find. I'm kind of want to - kind of want to trade tapes here, but this is …

Lynn Halmrast (LJH): “We’re securing our lines. We have another line. We can hear some people starting to clap.”

PMH: “HAM radio transmissions -”

LJH: “Yeah here we are. We just came through about an eighth of a mile tunnel. Coming into the first lock there are hundreds and hundreds of people lining the shores here, or the the walls…of the lock.”

PMH: “Courtesy of George Humphrey.”

LJH: “It’s again amazing! I’ll just leave this on and let you hear some of it. I’ll let you listen,”

PMH: “May 30th, 1982.”

LJH: “See if you can get a little bit of an idea of how fantastic this is.”

PMH: “I commend him for his…”

LJH: “Busy getting fending lines out - fending poles and, getting fenders set up on the ship.”

PMH: “I commend him for the field recording portion that I think we’re going to get to hear right now. This is- this is what we’re looking for.”

LJH: “Okay, the lock is closing behind us now - soon the water will begin to drop, and we'll drop- I don't know if you can hear the people - as this is all going on. We're securing another line for ahh control as we’re dropped downwards. Now the second lock is closing in, on us. This is amazing to watch. I know we went through the locks in Sioux Saint Marie, but it was not quite the same. These locks close together from, from outside. They close kind of like a “V” behind us. They’re red, with yellow railings around them. We have people everywhere around us; watching. Being rather quiet right now.

People are ah, giving us boxes of food. Just kind of ah… somehow people were just feeling benevolent I guess and provided us with about four boxes of food. Different kinds of fruits, vegetables, meats, bread- I hope there’s some milk in there.

Apparently there are a lot of people who are sick today. Too sick to go to work, but not too sick to come out and see a Viking ship because there are hundreds of people here. And this is a working day. This is Tuesday about 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

I am again amazed. I don't know when I'll get used to this. I hope I don't. It is such a treat to have people showing this kind of interest and support. There are no bad words, there are no cat calls. All we hear is good luck, our prayers are with you, hello Hjemkomst, ahh can I come along? Are you staying the night? Do you need anything? One after the other.

Paul Hess just came out and informed me that we were just given this food. The convenient stores just supplied us with lots of food for going down the Erie Canal and apparently we are in good shape for traveling down the Erie Canal in terms of food. We were in pretty good shape before- we just had another donation of seven hundred dollars worth of groceries and ah some storage boxes from ah a couple of private individuals who heard that we were kind of low on fruit, and sausage. They got us about twenty- two and a half feet lengths of sausage. Huge canisters er’ ah’ you know, rolls of cheese, and so forth. Lots of bread. A couple of cartons of oranges and a carton of apples. Amazing.

Water’s beginning to recede now. It's gone down about a foot. I just noticed. This kind of goes on slowly.

Ok, here we go. The water is being sucked out now. Or whatever. You can hear it. Going down - we’re moving down rather quickly. People are rising above us. We’ve gone down approximately six feet at this time. And I’d say we’re going about a foot, every thirty seconds. Amazing.

We’ve got an eighty foot drop to do right here. If you can believe that one.

Myron is on one tow line at the stern. Someone else is at the other up in front. I can’t see who it is at the bow. I’ve got my camera out and I’m taking some pictures. I’ll take some more.

I don’t know if you can hear the noise here or not. Just a din of people talking and watching and shooting pictures. There’s some Boy Scouts off on our starbird. And lots of pretty girls. Also.

Well we’ve now dropped about fifty feet into the canal, or into the lock. Can hear people calling us - MINNESOTA. Minnesota.

No, some of us are from Norway!

Ok, I don’t know if you got those sounds. I’m not sure what it is. It’s water leaking down behind us. Absolutely marvelous experience.

PMH: “That’s nice.”

LJH: “One more in a series of many that we’ve had so far. I’d like to be able to describe it a little better though the walls are all…”

PMH: “It’s fine. I’m just listening to some things - I didn’t sign in here. I’d better do that.”

LJH: “Body’s holding up pretty good?”

PMH: “I’m starting to get sore, but - he said he’s gonna be around until eight.”

LJH: “Oh, so you’re gonna be - you wanna go home and -”

PMH: “Maybe have some food. I could even come back maybe for a little bit.”

LJH: “Yeah.”

PMH: “Cause’ he said Tuesday - I don’t know if he’s available for me to be coming, you know, every day for example. I haven’t talked to him about it yet.”

LJH: “Oh, go ahead and chat with him then.”

PMH: “Yeah I will, but I’m just saying - I don’t know how - I just trying to get myself oriented in terms of how much I'll be working on it. And umm, there’s quite a bit of stuff to listen to.”

LJH: “It looks like it. Yeah. But you’re finding that it is still stuff that's worth listening to.”

PMH: “Well so far it’s been ah, yeah basically just documentary stuff.”

LJH: “Okay, that's good.”

PMH: “But there was one part that’s like a full radio broadcast.”

LJH: “Oh really?”

PMH: “Yeah, so I didn’t - I didn’t do - I mean I just listened to some of it, but you know it's already done, but something with that is that, like, that's WCCO broadcast. So it’s like, you know, start to finish.”

LJH: “Wow.”

PMH: “But it’s - that’s nowhere for anybody to hear it. So I don’t really need to do anything with that. You know what I mean? Like - and at the same time - I don’t really need to tell that story. It's already been told. So I’m just trying to figure out - I think it’s, I think it’s good material, sonic material to work with, but in just terms of that like, telling that story, that like, I mean they did back in 1982 you know. They told that story. So I don’t need to tell that story. If you want to hear that story you might as well listen to that broadcast, you know?

But it doesn’t mean that I can’t use the material to maybe find - make something kind of interesting, you know?

LJH: “Well the thing that I’m wondering about is, what is the length of that radio broadcast?”

PMH: “I think it’s an hour.”

LJH: “Okay, one hour, for something that took years.”

PMH: “Yeah no I know, but it gives you just the overall story.”

LJH: “Right but, to me the part that’s missing is, the real stories within that overall story. That's what people are hungry for.”

PMH: “Well yeah, but I mean honestly, listening to it yeah I agree going into more detail, but honestly…These are Tom Asp’s log.”

LJH: “Yeah”

PMH: “And I listened to log number one. And umm, I think it was, its fourty five minutes maybe? And umm, Day one on the Atlantic. And then it's basically just him talking. You know he’s telling stuff, but on the WCCO broadcast they took a pretty good sized chunk from that actual log. You know?


PMH: “So I already heard both of those things just right away you know?”

LJH: “And that's one day. That's one log. One log day.”

PMH: “But ahh yeah, no he’s only got four logs in here. The ham radio is something different. This is Tom’s. But he was twenty four.”

LJH: “Right. Yep. He was twenty four, yeah. ”

PMH: “But ahh, I don’t know who he is.”

LJH: “Oh, he’s, he’s the main dude. He’s the main engineer of the Hjemkomst . Because he’s the brain behind it. It would not have - I can tell you that - it would not have happened if it wasn’t for Tom. Tom, Rosie, and Bob. You know, they were the main ones. And Roger, Roger with his ability to do woodworking.”

PMH: “Yeah, because I just heard Tom talking and that’s what I was wondering, I was like… He seems like the captain or the leader, but he’s not the captain.”

LJH: “He really, for all intents and purposes was.”

PMH: “Oh. But the ship captain…”

LJH: “But he gave that - he put that title on Erik. And…”

PMH: “Oh so and, so…”

LJH: “Erik was the guy who, who knew how to sail a femboring, you know… basically…”

PMH: “A ship?”

LJH: “A ship of this style. With the, with the, with the one you know big square rigger sail.”

PMH: “But Tom was the mastermind behind the whole mission.”

LJH: “Yep.”

PMH: “Okay. See it came across in the recording, I just didn’t know how all of that was put together.”

LJH: “Yeah.”

PMH: “And he’s twenty four so that’s pretty young to be in charge of it.”

LJH: “But there was nobody else, to step forward. I mean Rose, but she, she could help raise the money. That’s what she did. And she could help get supporters.”

PMH: “Was Tom the oldest?”

LJH: “No. Roger, Roger was older. Maybe he was about twenty six. And then Doug was my age.”

PMH: “Doug Asp?”

LJH: “Doug Asp. Yeah, he was my age, so he was thirty one. You know, thirty one to thirty two. And then Deb was the youngest. She was seventeen. And Tom and I, you know, we’ve been friends ever since we started doing shake down cruises. The first time we ever sailed the ship we were you know, the ship, it was Tom and I and ah Mark Hilde and a guy who never made the crew, ah Johnson? And ah it was the ham radio operator who was eighteen years old…”

PMH: “That was his main job?”

LJH: “Well he was a good sailor too.He knew how to sail…”

PMH: “Okay. He just helped to sail… but his duty was to be in charge of the”

LJH, PMH (in unison): “radio”

LJH: “Yep, that was…”

PMH: “Well yeah I mean I was also sort of just surprised at the scope of it, you know? Cause’ Tom in that first recording he said that like, WCCO provided tapes.”

LJH: “Yep.”

PMH: “So they wanted- somebody had the idea to do these audio logs. Maybe that was more common then. I think now like to have somebody doing audio logs - I don’t think a lot of people do audio logs, anymore.”

LJH: “I think it was because ship’s log, you know, you had to- when you’re doing a- when you’re sailing you have a you know a ship's log. For each… Writing when you started, kind of what happened, and where- how far you went.”

PMH: “It’s just kind of funny because, the material- audio was such a, it was kind of the golden age for audio material like that. Because radio was still a main channel.”

LJH: “That's where we got our information. Our music I mean. You know, music was so important and you know anything - anything audio.”

PMH: “Cause now if you turn on the radio it’s kind of a secondary channel for people, often.”

LJH: “Because sound goes - sound is not necessarily just get- sound goes to computer outlets. I mean it’s”

PMH: “Yeah people have their phone for news, or media, or…”

LJH: “What do you call these ah, blogs, I mean… You have blogs that are not just written blogs, you have blogs that are audio blogs.”

PMH: “So, it's just kind of funny because you can feel that radio the audio material at this time, it still really has a lot of power.”

LJH: “A lot of power.”

PMH: “Kind of like TV, you know, we’re sort of past TV, you know now too.”

LJH: “Right.”

PMH: “I mean most people of younger generations aren’t watching much television. They watch…”

LJH: “Screen-”

PMH: “They watch screens, but not like television.”

LJH: “No.”

PMH: “They watch things on the internet or they do, you know, streaming services. You know? So it's all choosing on demand programs.”

LJH: “Much more live, or… You know, it doesn’t have… I mean even like movies, movies are… How long will movies be around? You know, I mean… Documentary movies, yes. But you know the large scale - because I think…”

PMH: “At the theater?”

LJH: “Well like Netflix and these companies - they’re taking over the, you know the industry.”

PMH: “Maybe, but I think people do like to go to theaters.”

LJH: “But in light of what you’re saying, in terms of this big screen stuff-”

PMH: “It’s not like it was.”

LJH: “No. It’s not like it was and it will probably become less.”

PMH: “Yeah it's more of like a special, specialized you know experience.”

LJH: “I mean how long will it take before in a home- you just have one of your walls is a screen? You know? And you just…”

PMH: “Yeah.”

LJH: “You come in and you hit it, and you know? And you’re watching it.”

PMH: “Yeah-”

LJH: “It’s not gonna, it’s not gonna be a theater.”

PMH: “Yeah- well you know but it’s just kind of… Yeah it’s nice to hear the material I think two things was - at the start of Tom’s, it’s umm… You can hear the ship moving a little bit. But then also umm, he had a couple- not even, not even minutes worth- maybe a minute or so of the water… That’s what I’m looking for. Is more of this ambient field recording type of material, you know?”

LJH: “You didn’t listen to any of mine yet then.?”

PMH: “Well I’ve heard - I’ve heard some. I’m just getting into it, you know?”

LJH: “Oh okay.”

PMH: “That's the thing- look at all of the…”

LJH: “Yeah there's a lot.”

PMH: “There’s a lot to listen to.”

LJH: “And I don’t know where Tom may have duplicated some of mine into his. I don’t know… if he did that or not.”

PMH: “Well it’s just, the only thing is- I heard one part where umm, it was gonna go into field recording and then it didn’t. So, there must be some more field recording, material. Are you familiar with that term? That’s like, sound artist, composer jargon for just recordings without any particular subject, you know?”

LJH: “Well that's what, that's what mine was, in part.”

PMH: “Yeah, but you’re talking a lot though too- you have like a journal audio recording too.”

LJH: “Some of it.”

PMH: “Yeah. But you have a lot of just field recording?”

LJH: “I just held the microphone down to the, bow of the ship and just let it go.”

PMH: “Okay.”

LJH: “Yeah, I mean you know… four…”

PMH: “So I’m sure I’ll come across that.”

LJH: “I think so. I mean that’s what I remember anyway. But you know I never listened to it, so I, you know- my memory is just having…”

PMH: “Yeah, no that's fine.”

LJH: “Done it, but I never listened to what I did.”

PMH: “No that's fine. I just ah, I’ll be interested to hear that stuff because- it's just nice sonic content, you know?”

LJH: “And ah I don’t, I don’t know, if someone has listened to some of that before and picked… some of that out.”

PMH: “Maybe they haven’t. That's the thing though- it's a different way to tell the story, you see?”

LJH: “Well yeah!”

PMH: “Its more like, closer to a first hand account, rather than listening to somebody talk about it. You’re just getting them the sonic experience that you would have had. I’m, I think that's more or like, as a composer, more what I’m interested in, you know? You can get the story too, but the thing that you- that I’ve never heard- is just like what, what, what was the sound? What would be the soundscape of being, you know, on that? Cause one thing is- its an old, its an old ship, you know?

LJH: “Yeah.”

PMH: “So thats kind of, rare. Maybe different soundscape than being on a modern ship.”

LJH: “Right,”

PMH: “But also just, it was forty years ago.”

LJH: “It was forty years ago… it was longer than that wasn’t it? Was it forty now? Forty yeah. Forty cause’ it was nineteen eighty two?”

PMH: “Yeah, eighty two”

LJH: “eighty two… twenty two… it’s twenty two.”

PMH: “Forty years so, umm that's also a different sound world than the one that I am exposed to.”

LJH: “Right,”

PMH: “So I can hear things in nineteen eighty two, that, its like a whole different world. You know? To my ears. Because it’s really changed since then. Since nineteen eighty two- I mean that was before the internet. You know?”

LJH: “That's right.”

PMH: “So…”

LJH: “It's ten years- well I don’t know if it's ten years but…”

PMH: “Well its before computers. So it's a different world and listening to it as a composer then I can hear- I can hear it, you know? I can- cause I'm always thinking about those nuances of the sound worlds that we live in, you know? Like for example, I mean just a few minutes ago when his phone went off.”

LJH: “Yeah”

PMH: “That's a digital sound. You would have never heard that in nineteen eighty two.”

LJH: “No, that's true.”

PMH: “You would have never heard that sound. You maybe heard a phone ring-”

LJH: “Right, yep, you’d hear the phone ring, but it would be different…”

PMH: “But even to hear that musical content in any form, would have been impossible. Because you need a computer to make it- electronic sounds and electronic music was still not very widely used. So you would have just heard - you know so that's what I mean so like, but I’ve basically known that world for most of my life, you know? The digital sound world.”

LJH: “Right. Right.”

PMH: “But think about how different it would be if you went on a modern ship, you know it would be beeps and sounds and all…”

LJH: “Propellers”

PMH: “All different kinds of stuff.”

LJH: “When we went through the Erie Canal, we’d go through locks. And then it was the sound of the water rushing out of the lock, you know as you were letting the water out to be able to be lowered down so that we got closer to being able to sail out into the- out into the Atlantic.”

PMH: “How did the locks open and close?”

LJH: “Umm, it’d be easiest to show that by looking at some, you know some, slides? Cause they’re great big doors, great big doors that would open like this. And they had some, some sort of like - must’ve had some sort of hydraulic like kind of opening, because they’d open up like that, but they wouldn’t be torn off, you know by the amount of water.”

PMH: “Like ah what–yeah - so they open…”

LJH: “And then the same for, for when ah, so then that, but the water also would have to- it would - it would, it would drain out. But they must have had to pump it back up again? Because the next boat that's coming in-”

PMH: “Yeah, to go up.”

LJH: “Yeah.”

PMH: “Or somehow fill it up. But what was… I didn’t know where the Erie Canal is? I never really thought about it, but it's just a channel? Is it a man made channel?”

LJH: “Right, yeah.”

PMH: “Dug between the lakes?”

LJH: “Yeah it's by Buffalo, New York.”

PMH: “Oh it is. It’s way out east.”

LJH: “Yeah and Niagara Falls is there also so- you’d two routes to go. If we took the wrong one we’d be down Niagara Falls. Umm, we had a rowing team that came and helped get it to Tohnawanda, New York. At Tonawanda, New York we took the mast down and then thats, I think that's where the Erie Canal begins. And…”

PMH: “Okay so when you’re in the canal you didn’t have the mast up at all?”

LJH: “Nope. Mast was… And that's what those two big beams- beam-like things are for. There’s mom… hello- ”

Tom Asp (TA): It’s clear out- the clearing is affected by an Azores high pressure cell… It’s eleven forty Zulu, Monday the sixth of June. We ah, finally have nice weather. Finally, it’s clear out. It’s expected to be clear for another, ah twenty first of June, Monday the twenty first of June, I went ‘six twenty one’ and it’s twenty one six, okay. It’s the twenty first of June today and we finally have nice weather out here. It’s clear out, the clearing is affected by an Azores high pressure cell, which should affect us for the next couple days anyway. And the low pressure that's expected to pass north of us should give us favorable winds Tuesday night, or so. Boy, we’re really drying out now from the storm we had. We had winds in excess of fifty knots- for the last thirty six hours we’ve really went through some tough weather. Ah in my transmission I sent back the good news and the bad news. The good news was we survived the storm, the tropical storm of force ten winds and waves. And the bad news is we suffered a little structural damage. We broke the rudder twice- the pivot rope that holds the rudder broke twice. We repaired it, we’re moving again. We lost the head of the dragon. We pulled it back on board, but it’s not sitting proudly up where it was. And the ah, the ah structural damage was that we cracked the garboard, or the number one strake in front of the fish- in front of the mast step about ten to twelve feet long. The crack has been stuffed with burlap and we’re watching it real close- we’re gonna put some reinforcement over it on the inside today. The plan is to go to Norway, all things are go still. Hopefully the weather hold out- according to the weather reports we’re beyond the area of tropical storms. They don’t head out, they don’t head out this way into the Atlantic, much. Hopefully we won’t have anymore bad weather at least until we get to England and that area again. But ah, the plan was possibly to stop at Fastenet [island] and do some repairs, but I think we get that far, which is about twenty two hundred miles from here, we’ll end up going all the way to Bergen. And I’m sure we’ll find a way to fix it- we always do. As long as we have nice weather. The storm was tough on everybody. We bailed quite a bit. We’ve had to conserve on our diesel fuel. We only have twelve gallons of diesel and so consequently we can’t run the diesel for bailing very often. The water caught up with us a couple times yesterday and we we’re just too tired to bail, so we had to turn the diesel on, but that’s what it’s there for. So we’ll use it ah, our twelve gallons wisely. And only when we absolutely have to, otherwise we bail with buckets and do it all ourselves. It’s a nice day, westerly winds maybe twelve knots. We’re headed in the direction we want to go. About a hundred and twenty degrees is what we’re steering- we’ll make good on about a hundred and well, a hundred and five degrees, I think. That’ll put us into the gulf stream, here ah, hopefully within the next day or so. But we’re steaming along towards Norway, still. Everybody’s rested up after a good nights sleep. It’s sunny out. We hope it’ll remain that way for quite some time.

Well, it was quite a weekend. It’s probably one of the nicest days we’ve had now. Water temperature about seventy three degrees out. Sun, there is a little bit of cloud formation, but not… a lot of cirrus clouds. Sun in really bright. We’ve been able to put out and dry things out today- wash up and clean up and kind of relax after a heck of a weekend. This last weekend we had a force ten storm that we went through. The boat crew stood up pretty well. The crew yesterday got really discouraged- was really feeling down. We had a series of circumstances where we, or two occasions where the rope, holding the rudder on that broke it. When we’re in fifteen to twenty foot waves, which is serious when something like that happens. You have to get the sail down immediately and revamp to broaching. We lost the dragon head again and we doubt that we’ll put it back up again until the ship is finally on dry land. We lost a horn on it and things like that. But the worst problem out of all, we developed two cracks. One is a garboard crack, which is the first strake along the keel- what starts about ten feet in front of the mast step and continues on for about ten feet. The other one starts about five feet from the mast step and continues on for about another ten feet again. Ah it’s- and that's on the second strake. And it starts on the, right behind where the garboard strake’s crack, stops. Basically we’ve made some progress the last few days. It's been ah, the storm we’ve had a day of calm, and everything like this, but… We’re finally on our way to Norway, in the right direction. We haven’t made the best progress this last week and we’re still probably looking at another three, four weeks to hit Bergen. It’s a lot of ways sitting here right now, it’s hard to imagine what it’s going to be like. It’s a long time on this stay- especially it's a hard feeling to really put in words. But it’s just so isolated from everything. It’s… Your own… You’re in your own little world, with twelve people in existence in this. There is no… really little communication to the outside.

(ambient ship sounds and background conversation)

PMH: “I think it’s nice to think about, just trance… it would be transposing- just playing Tom’s logs over the radio. It’s like, it seems like some type of audio that would be good in the car, you know?

LJH: “I got kind of distracted there, we had people diving in behind us, off the bridges. Kind of pandemonium going on. …

As we continue along there’s still people. Still people if you keep going, just people all the way along. I am just amazed. Every bend you come around there are more people. Terrific! Just terrific. No I can’t believe it. I am just blown away. It’s an American expression for very surprised. …

As we look out onto the bridge we’ve got a stream of cars, some of them following us along. It’s gotten colder out here now. Clouds have kind of set in and it's a little more overcast. Chilling off. People will be putting some clothes on before long. Well we’re continuing on. It's about an hour after we went through the locks and people are still lining the canal here, intermittently. People are riding on horseback, bicycle, every which way. Motorcycle. Here they come. Here comes some horseback riders. They’re gonna follow us along for a while too I guess. Yeah here we are. Still doing it. Thank you. We’ve had a tremendous reception I guess is all we can say. Here in Buffalo and NewYork itself. I didn’t even talk about all the movie cameras and you know TV stations that have been out covering this along with tremendous numbers of reporters and photographers. It’s like every time you step around you have a TV camera in your face or a photographer taking a picture of you. Or a reporter asking you for an interview or you know, whatever. It’s very unreal for some of us Minnesota boys, who are used to leading pretty quiet lives. But I have to say that I think we like it. Or at least we’ll try to get used to it for a while. Right now I’m watching a couple of people riding alongside of us on horseback. Kind of running in between around the crowds of people. Talking to them a little bit. We’re coming up to another bridge, with another larger group of people, waiting by it. Cars are kind of stopping on the bridge. Traffic is slow. There are a lot of cars parked along the side as well. A thought that comes through my mind right now is that it's important for us to realize why the people are coming. To some extent I think that they’re here because they’d like to see who the people are that are going to sail a ship like this across the Atlantic Ocean, but I think the biggest factor is that this is a beautiful, beautiful ship. It's a work of art. And people just have fallen in love with it and as they see, I think, its beauty is very pleasing to them. And they just can’t miss seeing the ship. So to keep things in perspective a little bit: we as crew members enjoy sharing in the, the well wishing and the attention that is being given to this expedition right now, but we also are very aware of what we’re doing and I believe why we’re doing it. And I can’t help but think, it certainly would have been nice if Robert Asp, the ship builder, could have been along with us as we have traveled these few miles already on the Erie Canal and felt the appreciation for the work of art that he has created. And how the people are appreciating what he has done. I feel very proud of Robert Asp, at this time and I am proud to say that he was a friend of mine. I think he would have liked this an awful lot. It would have brought broad smile to his face and those blue grey eyes would have sparkled and shown with delight.

There are some gorgeous home’s that we have been passing here along the Erie Canal. Just beautiful. Must be two hundred thousand dollars, and above. I was talking earlier about yesterday being Memorial Day and rowing the ship down the Niagara River to the Erie Canal. With the help of about thirty, no about eight- it was about eighteen to twenty rowers. From a rowing club. And I forgot to mention I think, a lot of people seem to choose to use Memorial Day as a time to line the banks of the Niagara River and spend the day waiting for the Viking ship and cheering the Hjemkomst on as she went by. Also a lot of pleasurecraft joined the Hjemkomst out on the river and took pictures and exchanged conversation and just kind of, had a nice time being a part of what we’re doing. I’m reminded of a line from the Courier Paper in Buffalo, New York, here in which the reporter introduced the article by saying something like, ‘The Hjemkmost Viking Ship layed siege to Buffalo, New York early this morning as she entered her harbor around five or six AM. Within a matter of hours, the crew of the Hjemkomst had charmed the city into submission.’ That's almost what it felt like. It was a marvelous feeling of support from this community. And it has been today. All day as well. Oh, another interesting thing occurred as we were here in Buffalo. It's kind of difficult for a while because we had understood that the people in one of the communities near Buffalo and along with the people in Buffalo had arranged for us to have a tow through the Erie Canal system.”

TA:.It’s a real beautiful night. We’ve got some cloud coverage. You can see a lot of the stars are out though. You can see two of the planets. The moon is bright. Kind of cool and a real light wind and we’re traveling about four knots. It's the type of night you just like to sit out and think, and dream, and wonder… But I guess that's all I have for today, not really any real excitement or anything like that, but- knocked off a few more miles and, we’re going to Norway.

(ambient sounds of ship and crew as they approach land)

PMH: “Thanks to the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, Maureen Jonason, Mark Peihl of the Hjemkomst Center, Tom Asp and the Hjemkomst crew, Bill Thomas of Prairie Public Radio, and a special thanks to my father Lynn Halmrast for his contribution to the cultural heritage of the city, and his encouragement to follow my own dreams. Until next time…

Deb Asp: Today is Saturday, July seventeenth, twenty minutes to two PM, and you guessed it, yes we’ve just seen land. We’ve seen Norway. Erik broke out a bottle of aquavit and a beer, and it’s a true party aboard the Hjemkomst right now, cause we can see Norway!

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