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A Fiery Farewell

FOR TWO FAMILIES, this year’s Viking Funeral is more than sinking beers and devouring a pig on a spit… They’ll place their loved-ones’ ashes on the burning Viking ship for a final fiery farewell.

Every year, thousands of people, uh, Vikings, pack the Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association (DBCYA) for the Mega Annual Viking Funeral. A life-sized ‘slain Viking warrior’ is sent into the afterlife on a burning boat, set alight by the flaming arrows of local archers. The annual tradition was created to pay respect to sea vessels no longer in service and all sailors who have passed.

Ingrid Laudzevics’ daughter, Karlee, sadly died five years ago. Since then, she’s spread her ashes across the globe, and couldn’t think of a better way to send her off in her birthplace, than the Viking Funeral.

“Karlee was born in Darwin in ’91 – we left when she was four and went to Perth. When she was 22, she was diagnosed with a rare tumour and died eight weeks later, in January 2014.

“Since that time, I’ve taken her to the Great Wall of China, she’s been buried in the south of France, she’s been let go off the Basilica in Paris, and floated down the Thames in London. 

“I thought ‘how am I going to do this for her back home?’”

Ingrid approached the DBCYA team with her request, and they were happy to oblige. She felt it was a great opportunity to give a nod to their Latvian heritage, too. 

“There’s research that says Latvia is where Vikings became Vikings, so what better way for her to go?” she says.

“She would love it! She was a performer and studied musical theatre, and did everything in style. She was pretty special.”

While Ingrid knows there will be a few tears on the night, there will also be plenty of joy as they celebrate Karlee’s life, dressed like Vikings and swilling a few pints.

The public event has grown every year since it started, completely selling out in 2018 – get onto those tickets quickly or you’ll miss out. And don’t forget your costume for your chance at the title of ‘Most Likely Viking’.


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