Noah’s Ark replica race is on

Noah's Ark. Does Michael Gungor mean to call this a lie?
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The latest full-sized Noah’s Ark replica is already taking shape—but not in Kentucky. It’s in Holland, it will float, and will have a real zoo on board.

An experienced Arkwright

Johan Huibers, 60, of Rotterdam, brings experience to his project. Six years ago he built a smaller floating Noah’s Ark replica. This model was 225 feet in length, 30 feet in beam and 45 feet in height. So it had half the length, two-thirds the beam, and one-third the carrying capacity of the original. But it actually floated and had a small petting zoo on the weather deck.

Two years ago Huibers began building another Noah’s Ark replica. This one is the same size as the original, or near to it: 450 feet long, 75 feet in beam and 45 feet in height. Like the replica he built before, this one floats on a set of barges lashed together. But the new one has the same cargo space as the original, and Huibers has made good use of it.

The top deck will have living quarters for Huibers and his wife, and a free-flight aviary. The middle deck will have the live-animal zoo. The lower deck will hold models of larger animals, plus two conference rooms with combined seating for 1500 attendees.

The project cost about 1 million ($1.5 million US) to build. Huibers hopes to sail his Noah’s Ark replica (or take it in tow) across the English Channel and up the Thames River to London for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Is this a good Noah’s Ark replica?

Huibers’ full-sized Noah’s Ark replica has provoked debate. It begins with whether the Global Flood ever happened, of course. Beyond that:

  1. Huibers built his Noah’s Ark replica on a set of barges. Without them, his vessel might not be seaworthy. Nor does he seem to have consulted any ancient sources to learn how to build a leak-proof hull from wood.
  2. Huibers assumes that Swedish pine was the “gopher wood” that the Bible mentions. Huibers translated the Hebrew etz-gofer as “resin wood.” But gofer appears only once in the Bible and never in any other piece of Hebrew literature. So no one can be quite sure what it means.

The Kentucky Noah’s Ark replica

Meanwhile, the investors who hope to build a full-scale Noah’s Ark replica on land announced a fund-raising milestone. They have now raised more than $3 million to build their replica. Ark Encounter LLC redesigned their web site, making it much more interactive, to celebrate. They plan to raise about $25 million in donations to build the Noah’s Ark replica. They already have $125 million more from investors to build seven other attractions for an 800-acre theme park. Ark Encounter’s Noah’s Ark replica will rest on land, as the original did before it launched. Its design draws from the designs of the ancient war galleys that once sailed the Mediterranean.

The Kentucky replica will at least look like a ship that might be seaworthy. But comparing the two projects raises two questions:

  1. Why does the Kentucky replica cost sixteen times as much as the Rotterdam replica? (That’s the price of the Noah’s Ark replica alone, not the seven other attractions and Greek-style amphitheater.)
  2. Two of the Kentucky attractions—the aviary and the zoo—are separate from the Noah’s Ark replica. Huibers has both on board. They are smaller than their Kentucky counterparts. But a functioning vessel with its own aviary and zoo might better impress people than an empty vessel might.

Huibers does not pretend to carry as many land animals or birds on board as Noah carried. His aviary and zoo are semi-permanent habitats, not temporary emergency transport. The Kentucky vessel will probably have as many stalls in it as the original had.

A future Noah’s Ark replica?

Obviously neither vessel will be perfect. But the quest to build the perfect Noah’s Ark replica need not stop with these projects. Maybe a future Arkwright will build a vessel similar to the Ark Encounter design, on lashed-together barges like those that Huibers used—and then release the barges and let the vessel float on its own. Maybe then the builder can take it out for real sea trials. And for the last trial, he could transport live animals in it, to show how an eight-person crew could care for them during a 150-day voyage.

But both projects will be inspiring. Huibers and Ark Encounter LLC share this goal: to make people think about the original story and its message of salvation.

Featured image: a model of Noah’s Ark under construction. Photo: Creation Museum; taken and used by permission.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

8 Responses to Noah’s Ark replica race is on

  1. John says:

    What Terry neglects to mention is that Johan’s Ark, the smaller one, had to be built around a steel hull, to prevent the ship from collapsing under its own weight.

    • Bill says:

      a baby elephant eating 100 pounds of food. Amazing. wouldn’t that actually kill a baby elephant?

  2. John says:

    A single elephant eats at a minimum around a 100 pounds of food a day, and drinks, at a minimum, 25 gallons of fresh water. For a 150 day journey, you would need 15000 pounds of food and 3750 gallons of water, just for a single elephant. For two elephants, eating and drinking the bare minimum, you need 30000 pounds of food and 7500 gallons of water.

    A single hippopotamus will eat up to 150 pounds of grass a night, and requires even more water than an elephant (since they only live in or around water). A single rhinoceros eats around 30 pounds a day, and drinks about 20 gallons of water a day.

    Being generous (assuming the hippos only need 100 pounds of food and 30 gallons of water), for a 150 day journey, for just these six animals alone (two elephants, two hippos, two rhinos), you need 69,000 pounds of food, and 22500 gallons of water. Since a gallon of water weighs around 8.34 pounds, that’s over 187,650 pounds of water weight. So not counting the animals themselves, just to take care of six animals, you would have an additional weight of 256,650 pounds. That’s over 128 tons of food and water for just six animals.

    Have you ever heard that old robot saying, “does not compute”?

    • Pablocruize says:

      Why would someone transporting live animals in a survival situation want to transport full sized adults? Is it easier to deal with a wolf cub or a full grown wolf? In the the 365 plus days the Ark was afloat many young animals would grow to adulthood. Also in a high stress situation its not to be ruled out that a lowered metabolic rate could have taken affect naturally or through devine intervention. Millions of dead thing buried in cataclismicly transported water borne sediment worldwide testify of the Great Flood

      • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

        About the transportation of adults v. cubs: actually, that’s how Noah could have transported dinosaurs. The dinosaurs never stopped growing—and the tremendous sizes of some of the dinosaur fossils testify to their long antediluvian lifespans, not the typical size of adults. The dinosaur kinds had no such thing as “full-grown.” So Noah transported young adults—or perhaps sub-adults.

        If he did transport cubs instead of adults—well, that would pre-figure the judgment of the Israelites in the Sinai. Only those who were not adults at the time that everyone believed the false report that exaggerated the dangers, would be allowed to enter the Promised Land. So nothing in any of the Biblical narratives says that Noah must have transported adults on his craft.

  3. Rob Herbert says:

    Terry: since you’re highlighting this now, do you promise – ON YOUR HONOR – to report on the outcome of this story? Success or fail?

  4. Geno says:

    Terry writes:
    The latest full-sized Noah’s Ark replica is already taking shape—but not in Kentucky. It’s in Holland, it will float, and will have a real zoo on board.

    Geno asks:
    Will this one REALLY float (on its own), or will it be another “ark” like the last one…. floating on a barge?

    Claiming this ark “floats” is downright dishonest. It gives the impression it is capable of floating on its own. Clearly, that is not the case as it is not even in contact with the water. For some reason, I don’t give a lot of credibility to a “model” of the ark that is INCAPABLE of actually floating on its own.

    Note: Before Terry claims I don’t know if it will float on its own or not, the test is really simple…. take it off the barge and find out.

  5. […] Noah's Ark replica race is on – Conservative News and Views The project cost about ₤1 million ($1.5 million US) to build. Huibers hopes to sail his Noah's Ark replica (or take it in tow) across the English Channel and up the Thames River to London for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games June 01, 2011 By Geoffrey Lewen. Good government in a free society keeps positive and negative liberty in balance These two forms of liberty are out-of-balance today. Positive and negative liberty – definitions. In Read More » […]

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