Ark needs biblical donation to sail

A Dutch carpenter inspired by a dream to construct a life-sized replica of Noah's Ark now has a new and equally ambitious dream - to sail the vast vessel to the Olympic Games in Brazil.

Johan Huibers' Biblical boat complete with wooden animals, was constructed four years ago at the cost of nearly $1.6million (over £1million), and is currently a popular attraction in Dordrecht, south of Amsterdam.

It is estimated that the cost of sailing the vessel 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in time for the sporting event would be around $1.97million (£1.36million), according to a California non-profit organisation set up to help the determined Huibers realise his latest goal.

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.

Photo / Ark of Noah
Photo / Ark of Noah

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 centre.

If the daring feat goes ahead, the 2,500-ton Ark's progress across the ocean will be streamed live on the internet for fans to follow.

Although the end destination of Huibers' Ark will be Fortaleza, Brazil during the 2016 Olympic Games and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Paralympic summer games, there will also be a number of other harbour stops along the way in South, Central and North America.

The full itinerary hasn't been confirmed but the website says desired ports include Montevideo and Buenos Aires, Havana, Panama, Columbia, San Diego, Long Beach, San Francisco and Seattle.

Photo / Noah of Ark
Photo / Noah of Ark

The director of the Ark of Noah Foundation Herald, the non-profit organisation that is co-coordinating the fundraising, says the scheme has a deeper goal of raising money to open 'Ark of Hope' Centres.

'Ark of Hope Centres will provide social, educational and practical support to the underprivileged citizens of Brazil, and later to follow up countries,' said Herald A. M. A. Janssen.

'The centres will teach water use, social and environmental responsibilities as well as help with substance abuse issues, workforce skills, and much more.'

Photo / Ark of Noah
Photo / Ark of Noah

It is also hoped that any proceeds can go towards creating interactive exhibits on board, including ones that would feature hologram animals.

Currently Huibers will need a miracle of Biblical proportions to reach the project total, which is currently only a couple of thousand dollars into its target, according to Fox News, and the organisation say they 'really still need support.'

- Daily Mail

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