A Dutch carpenter who built a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark has announced plans to sail the 2500-ton vessel to Israel.
Johan Huibers’ Biblical boat complete with wooden animals, was constructed six years ago at the cost of nearly $1.6million (over £1million) and is currently a popular attraction in Dordrecht, south of Amsterdam.
But Huibers told JTA earlier this month that he wants to take his creation to ‘God’s land’, and is seeking donations from good Samaritans to get him there.
‘My preferred destination for the ark is Israel,’ Huibers, 60, told JTA.
‘It may sound scary, but I believe everything written in this book, cover to cover,’ he said while pointing at a copy of a translation into Dutch of the Hebrew Bible.
‘This is a copy of God’s ship. It only makes sense to take it to God’s land.’
Huibers planned to take the ship to Israel soon after its completion, but wildfires in Israel torpedoed the journey.
Now he no longer has the approximately $1.3 million necessaries for getting there (the ark has no motor, so Huibers needs to rent tugboats to sail it).
‘I love the land, I love the country, I love the people,’ he said of Israel. ‘They don’t obey, they do what they want, they drive like mad, shove while waiting in line and don’t listen to anyone. Just like me.’
Huibers had plans to sail the ark to Brazil, but those fell through, too as the estimated cost of sailing the vessel 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in time for the sporting event was around $1.97million (£1.36million), according to a California non-profit organisation set up to help the determined Huibers realize the dream.
The religious ark was created to adhere to the Biblical story, in which God instructed a man called Noah to create a boat big enough to save animals and humanity during a flood that would fill the world.
Larger than a football pitch and containing five floors, Huibers’ Ark can transport more than 5,000 people at a time.
Since it opened in 2012, hundreds of thousands of tourists have flocked to explore its 410ft long, 95ft wide and 75ft tall chambers, similar to measurements given in Genesis 6:15.
In keeping with the Biblical tale, the vessel includes artificial replicas of animals in two-by-two formation, which guests are able to witness alongside exploring an interactive museum and event center.
During its planned trip to Brazil, the end destination of Huibers’ Ark would have been Fortaleza, Brazil during the 2016 Olympic Games and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Paralympic summer games, with a number of other harbor stops along the way in South, Central, and North America.
It was also hoped that any proceeds would have gone towards creating interactive exhibits on board, including ones that would feature hologram animals.
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