A Non-Pillaging Flight

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BRATTAHLID, Greenland: Vikings: not just in Minnesota anymore. Travel writer W. Hodding Carter and 11 other hardy souls set off today on a 1,900 mile trip to retrace the voyage of Viking explorer Leif Ericsson from Greenland to present-day Newfoundland. Squeezed into a 54-foot wooden boat (called a "knarr"), expedition members will chart their course by the stars and sun and dine on the succulent Viking staples of freshly caught fish and moss and lichens to be gathered at beaches along the way. In true Viking style, crew members will rely on just six oars and a square canvas sail to make their destination in L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland before hurricane season hits in late August. Modern navigational tools will be reserved strictly for emergencies, but members of the expedition will post pictures and bulletins from the voyage on the Web each day. Sponsored by clothing retailer Lands End, the knarr will be the first Viking ship to reach Newfoundland in 600 years, barring mishaps, mysterious sea creatures, uncharted desert isles and rampaging Norwegian Cruise Lines ships.