Four years after Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers completed his fully functional, full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark — a multi-year project that followed the biblical measurements found in Genesis — the vessel is slated to travel 5,000 miles along the Atlantic Ocean from the Netherlands to Brazil.
The Ark of Noah Foundation, a group based in Pasadena, California, is raising money to fund the massive trip, which will unfold during the summer of 2016 — a voyage that will be live streamed for the world to see, as the ship sails to the cities of Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro.
The ship, also known as “Johan’s Ark,” will also visit San Diego, Long Beach, San Francisco and Seattle when it later makes its way to the U.S.
The goal is to raise funds to create Ark of Hope centers throughout Brazil that will help educate and provide support for the underprivileged, according to a press release.
“The Ark is a massive replica that is interactive, informative, cultural Biblical event center,” a statement explains. “Noah’s Ark provides a Judeo-Christian, Bible based experience for young and old.”
Huibers’ ship, which weighs around 2,500 tons and is 95 feet wide, 75.5 feet high and 410 feet long and can accommodate 5,000 people, has already been on full display since 2012, with visitors in the Netherlands being able to experience interactive, biblical-themed displays.
Huibers decided to build a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark after embarking on aid projects in Bosnia, Albania and Ethiopia — and reportedly after having a dream that officially led him to start planning and constructing the vessel.
“At 33 years old, building constructor and carpenter, Johan Huibers dreamt that a fierce storm-tide flooded the entire province of Nood-Holland in the Netherlands,” reads a description on the foundation’s website. “That dream marks the start of an exciting adventure in which Johan overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve his ultimate goal; the building of a replica of Noah’s Ark!”
That dream — which he described as a nightmare in an interview with the Associated Press back in 2012 — helped light the spark that ignited the project.
“I want to make people question that so that they go looking for answers [and ultimately find salvation through God and eternal life],” Huibers told the outlet.
Listen to Huibers discuss the ship below:
Huibers also told the Associated Press in a 2012 interview that he relied upon the scriptures present in Genesis 6-9 to build the ark.
Here’s how Genesis 6:13-16 reads:
“So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.”