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.
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 realise 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.
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 centre.
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 harbour 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.