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The History Of Gaia
The Viking ship Gaia is a copy of the Gokstad Ship. She was built in the winter of 1989-90 in Bjørkedalen village, situated in the area of Sunnmøre, on the Norwegian west coast.
Gaia means 'Mother Earth' and the ship GAIA represents the past and present in harmony with the natural environment. It was officially named in Iceland in June 19, 1991, by President Vigdis Finnbogadottir.
In 1991 Ragnar Thorseth sailed Gaia to North America to celebrate the 1000 year anniversary of Leiv Erikssons voyage to Vinland. Gaia would also be a part of putting the spotlight on the world’s environmental problems, and the environment in which our children grow up.
GAIA was appointed Ambassador for all the children of the world in New York. GAIA played an important role in the creation of the GAIA Network, in Manaus, Brazil. A series of prominent people visited her, like president of the US, George Bush and the Cuban President Fidel Castro. She sailed on to the UN conference for the environment in Rio. In this conference she was a focal point for the environmental work geared towards children. This work was organized in “Gaia circles” that was established in Manaus by the Amazon.
During the voyage to Rio, Gaia received thousands of drawings and written messages to the world’s leaders. Children in a series of countries sent messages relating to the environment this way. In Rio these drawings was handed to the environmental conference. Drawings and messages are now archived at the museum in Sandefjord.
In May 1993 the ship was given as a gift to Sandefjord Municipality from Ship owner Knut Utstein Kloster of the Gaia Ship Foundation. Members of the Gokstad coastal association sailed her to her home port of Sandefjord. A group was established within the Gokstad Coastal Association to sail and maintain Gaia. This group has turned in to a free-standing crew called the Gaia Crew that sail and maintain her. Gaia has sailed a few shorter voyages to Roskilde in Denmark. And generally she has been sailed on the coast of Vestfold and the southern coast of Norway. In the summer of 2005, Gaia sailed the old viking route from Vestfold to Dublin.
Sandefjord is now GAIA's home base, where she is managed by the Gaia Crew.
This family took six months to build the Gokstad replica and tried
whenever possible to use traditional techniques.
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