Swedish Sailing Expedition to Iceland

The 250th anniversary of the scientific expedition by Daniel Solander is marked by a Swedish sailing expedition from Sweden to Iceland.

One of the largest Swedish sailing ships, TS/Gunilla, embarked from Sweden at the end of July and arrived in Reykjavik two weeks later.

The ship has a crew of 13 and 40 students. During the voyage, the students studied and highlighted the expedition of 1772. An extensive program was planned in Reykjavik to commemorate both the historical expedition of 1772 and Solander in his capacity as the first Swedish circumnavigator. 

The students provided regular updates on their journey across the seas – all in the footsteps and the spirit of Solander!

This is only the beginning of a two-year collaboration between the Embassy and Öckerö seglande gymnasieskola.

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Sailing Expedition in the Footsteps of Solander - Reports

Part 1

Almost on the exact date, 250 years ago, a sailing ship with scientists – among them the famous Swede Daniel Solander – sailed for Iceland. At that time, the discovery of the importance of lemons and other Vitamin C rich foods to prevent scurvy was quite new and still under dispute for different reasons. For the relatively short trip to Iceland though, scurvy was probably not a large problem. On T/S Gunilla, we have access to nourishing food on our journeys. At the time of Solander’s voyage, navigation was easier by aid of the new, state-of-the-art marine chronometer.
Today, we lean on GPS measurements for obtaining correct coordinates. Some things are yet still very similar for his journey and ours: the 24-7 need to keep a ship in control and in the right direction, maybe periods of sea sickness, and the company of sea birds all day long – fulmars must have been ever present at Solander’s ship too! And the curiosity for the not yet seen is also something that we have in common. Solander’s focus was plants on the ground, our focus will be marine life under the seawater! Keep watching for our next post…
Daniel Tingdahl, Director of Studies at T/S Gunilla.
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Part 2

It must have taken a lot of courage for a person to leave the haven of home 300 years ago to explore the unexplored. We feel humble thinking about the connection to our ancestor travelling in his wake.
Solander's contributed to science by finding new fauna and cataloguing them. The species identification keys he used are methods we still use when travelling with T/S Gunilla. We share Solander's curiosity for science and motivation for understanding the world around us by comparing and communicating our findings. To walk the same ground in Iceland as Solander, and getting there with a ship as he did, watching the same countless waves and sunsets is truly an honour.
Caroline Jendeby, Emma Bergener, Malvin Nylander. Students on the ship TS Gunilla.

Part 3

Iceland, here we come!
When we came out on deck this morning to start our watch we finally saw it, we saw Iceland. The beautiful land, the mountains that emerged from the northern Atlantic Ocean. The ocean was temporarily peaceful and the waves slowly rolled the ship from side to side while the sky above invited us to a sunny and calm day. Already yesterday evening we saw some of the signs of land being near, foreign birds were flying around the ship and the whales started to show once in a while. Everyone on the ship was always on high alert and on the look out for whales. We had the luck with us and orcas, minke whales and pilot whales came by to welcome us to Iceland. We are excited to explore Húsavík tomorrow and later on Reykjavík and Iceland’s extraordinary nature!
Ellen and Johanna, students on T/S Gunilla.

More reports can be found here.

Last updated 15 Aug 2022, 10.42 PM