Drama on the High Seas - Norwegian Vikings in Turtle Rescue
Story by: Ben Marcus
Vikings are so hot right now: Ragnar, Loki and Lagertha from Vikings, Thor and Loki from Thor: Ragnarok, Uhtred and Beocca (but no Loki) from The Last Kingdom and even Orm, Ovid, Forya and those goofy, hipster Vikings from Norsemen.
Vikings are hotter than vampires, but right now, there are two modern Norwegian Viking dudes who deserve a little fame, for their noble rescue of four sea turtles off the coast of Mexico around Christmas of 2018.
A video of Sverre Wiig taking to a sketchy dinghy and unwrapping the four desperate turtles was shot by Magnus Wiig. It has been seen 127,000+ times on YouTube and can be seen here:
A noble deed indeed. But watching that video, you might notice their dinghy is a little dodgy. It is. They need a new one and according to Magnus Wiig, their boat also needs new standing rigging and all sorts of hardware. In an email from deepest Mexico, Magnus broke down what is breaking down on their yacht:
- Standing rig (breaking down)
- Dingy (in bad shape)
- Life raft (outdated)
- Satellite phone (missing)
- Radar (not working)
- Autopilot (It just broke down)
- Diving equipment (missing)
- Wetsuit (missing)
- Sailing wear (missing)
- Drogue (missing)
- Anchor + chain (need replacement at some point)
The fateful path that lead to the rescue of four sea turtles off Mexico, began in another world on the other side of the world - in the land of ice and snow: Norway. This is a country you don’t hear about much, but Norway is a country that has its faen together in many ways: Same size as California, a population of just over 5 million thrifty, practical, nature-loving, adventurous, clean-living Scandinavians who have wisely kept their population at a reasonable level and have done a great job of not squandering all the oil and natural gas wealth that is under their feet and out to sea.
Norway’s electrical grid is generated by 98% renewable energy, and that allows them to invest all their energy wealth - to the tune of a $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund. And they donate 1% of that wealth - a whopping $10 billion - to environmental causes a year.
Norway has an admirable medical system and the prisons are humane and the taxi drivers all drive Mercedes - and maybe even Teslas. The education system is to die for and there are super models mopping the floor at McDonalds (No kidding. Norway is holding). The country looks and feels like the smaller, more prosperous, less anxious America of the 1950s.
Norway is a great place to live, but the Norwegians are descended from Scandinavian vikings who were hard core voyagers, a thousand years ago: Causing havoc from the Volga to the British Isles to the Mediterranean, and iceberg-hopping from Norway to Greenland to Iceland to what is now North America - five hundred years before Columbus sauntered over and started this whole mess.
Round round get around, the Vikings got around, and they passed that restless DNA on down through the centuries, all the way to the Brothers Wiig. Magnus (31) and Sverre (28), are Norwegian to the core, which means they love their country, but also want to see the world: “Norway is nice. Very nice,” Magnus Wiig said:
“Maybe too nice. No more vikings left. Because of that we need to go out. Explore. That’s the plan since we started six months ago in California - doing this cliche roadtrip with a less cliche truck. We went to Burning Man. Crazy shit! Left the country. Bought the boat north in Mexico. Bam! We’re sailing!”
The Brothers Wiig sold their truck in San Diego, got a ride to Tijuana, flew to La Paz, almost got screwed over, took a new flight to San Carlos, and bought their yacht - a Whitby 42 for $38 000. Way over their budget. They sat sail on the 19th of December, with one purpose only: “Getting down to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate Christmas with mom!” They had six days in rough sea resulting in wires snapping, rudder failure and water leaks. On the last day, 100 nautical miles from their destination: “We found the Ninja Turtles tangled up in plastic.”
Even a hundred nautical miles out to sea, there is a lot of trash and nets and floating plastic. The prime minister of Norway - Erna Solberg - spoke about the problem with Alec Baldwin on Sundays With Alec Baldwin. Check it out here!
But trashy seas also were very apparent to the Wiig Brothers: “I thought it could be some trash to pick up, and I see those sea turtles tangled up, probably dead. But then I could see them breathe, and I got this instant maternal bond – Nooo! I’ll save you! One of them was gasping to get air, and you could hear him scream: Help me!”
It was Sverre who took to the leaking dinghy to rescue the turtles, while Magnus filmed it all. The turtle rescue was described tersely by Bryony Jewell on dailymail.co.uk online:
The first turtle is relatively easy to set free from the yellow net and collection of plastic bottles and quickly swims away after a few snips.
The second sea turtle proves slightly trickier with the rope wrapped under its flippers and the Norwegian sailor having to lean further out of the boat to free it.
He then pulls in the next turtle and rests its on the side of the dinghy but it slips back into the water.
The sailor quickly gets it back and continues helping it, being careful when using the scissors by its neck and flippers.
Luckily the brothers spot a surprise fourth turtle further out before they end the rescue mission but the sailor has to pull on the string it is attached too to get it close.
Magnus shrugged the incident off as something any turtle-loving Viking would do:
We were only at the right place to the right time, and I hope other would have done the same. But since it was us, we were very happy to rescue those poor bastards. And luckily I worked as a photographer back in Norway, and know when to push rec.
As of February, the Wiig brothers are in Chamela, Mexico: “doing some work for a Norwegian television to save up some cash,” according to Magnus.
Americans say: “Boats are a hole in the ocean you throw money into,” the Norwegians have a similar expression.
Anyone who saw the video of their rescue knows they need a new dinghy, but according to Magnus, the boat has other needs:
We never bought a new dingy… yet. We have got some cash from random people who appreciated the rescue, but not enough at the moment. We tried to repair the old one until we figure out what to do. We are both big supporter of reuseing stuff and DIY, and we try to make stuff works without always buy new, especially when we are down in Mexico, not much to buy, hehe. Well as a boat owner you always need stuff, but a dingy for sure, and a new standing rig since the one we have now are falling apart.
What the Wiig brothers need is a new dinghy with a motor but also a new standing rig, according to Magnus: -Standing rigging is the stuff that holds the mast up, and is kind of important. Since we have a badass boat with two masts it not cheap, sadly. I would guess around $5000USD. Dinghy, I would guess around $1000USD used. We have to deal with the other stuff first.
The long-range plan is to keep sailing for three more years: “Down to Ecuador, cross the Pacific, and then Japan!” Magnus said. “It’s a long journey, and I know our mom would appreciate if we had some solid equipment!!”
So, these Viking dudes/turtle rescuers committed an unselfish act, and it would be nice of the surfing, sailing and ocean-loving world reached out to help them by contributing a few bucks.
There is a donation page http://www.wiigworld.com/donasjon/