A ramshackle Viking ship ran aground near Bessastaðir, the presidential residence, on Friday afternoon, RÚV reports. With Halloween just around the corner, the unmanned vessel’s mysterious and unscheduled appearance briefly seemed supernatural in nature, but much more prosaic explanations were quickly uncovered.
On Friday morning, reporters were notified that a ship had run aground on the islet of Eskines, just offshore from the Gálgahraun lava field, but they weren’t told what—or what kind of—ship it was. Inquiries made to the presidential secretary shed no further light on the eerie craft: no one at Bessastaðir even knew the ship was there.
After further investigation, reporters were finally able to determine that the ship was Vikingaskipið Drakar, a vessel modeled on the Gokstad ship. Gokstad was a 9th century Viking ship that was 24 meters [78 ft] long, 5 meters [16 ft] wide, and would have been manned by 32 Vikings. Drakar was commissioned by a Viking ship enthusiast in Brazil in 2007 and briefly used as a tour boat for as many as 95 passengers at a time. In 2015, however, it was sold and transported from Trinidad and Tobago to Iceland. It has been moored in Kópavogur for the last three or four years.
The current owner, Kristinn Gíslason, was quick to confirm that the ghostly grounding was not a Halloween prank. He found out that his boat had drifted away when he got a call from the harbour at 11 am on Friday morning. But while it may not have been a Trick or Treat prank, some mischief was definitely at play: the harbour master confirmed that the ship had to have been purposefully released from its moorings. He’d heard talk that local teens snuck aboard Drakar the night before.
Drakar was only briefly stranded in the shallow waters around Eskines; high tide on Friday came at 12:40 and the ship was sailed back to its rightful harbour.