The world’s biggest, most ambitious and most expensive sea project is about to get underway at Marbles Kids Museum in Newcastle, Australia.
It will open next year, and is set to cost an estimated $4bn to build, with the first ship in the fleet set to be christened in 2019.
In fact, the ark will be a bit like a modern-day Noah’s arks – an extravagant, futuristic and technologically advanced replica of a ship, complete with a new propulsion system and a futuristic-looking sail that could be used for sailing across the oceans.
But what does the arks true potential mean for marine tourism?
“The ark has a lot of potential, it has the potential to change the way we think about our seas and the way that people go about it,” says Noah Fowlkes, curator of the Noah’s Ark museum in Newcastle.
“And the more we know about the arktoknowledge and what it can do for the tourism industry, the more it’s going to be a really exciting thing for people to see.”
The ark’s main attraction is the Ark of the Covenant, the Bible story of the Flood that the Ark travelled to to save mankind from the wrath of the beast.
Noah’s wife, Hagar, built the arK in 1611, with her husband’s blessing, to give to Noah’s sons in his stead after he was killed by a fierce serpent.
The arK was later converted into a museum in 1721, and a series of other works of art are currently on display.
But when the arkk was first built in 1616, it was just a small wooden vessel.
Today, it’s the largest, most modern-looking sea-going ark in the world, with a diameter of 6,500m.
“The ship is the main attraction, it brings in a lot more people and it also has the capacity to carry a lot larger boats,” Mr Fowlke says.
“If it were just a ship and just the Ark would be the biggest, the most important ship, that’s a lot different.”
“And so it’s a great opportunity for us as a museum to really showcase what it’s about.”
One of the largest ships ever built, the Ark is estimated to be more than six metres long and has a capacity to transport 1,000 people.
It’s built on a floating platform and will have a range of different layouts depending on the season.
“We’ve got a really big ark platform and there’s also a small ark, which is just a boxy vessel with a hatch in the centre,” Mr Flakes says.
“And we’ve got the second platform, which has an ark that has three boats in it and we also have a boat that has an entire deck of deck.”
“The Ark is a really unique vessel.”
The Ark’s first voyage was to the Black Sea, but when the Noah family needed to sail to the Mediterranean, they instead built the first ark at sea.
“That’s how it was set up,” Mr Fisher says.
A huge amount of time, money and planning went into building the arck, including a team of more than 100 people.
The project also involved thousands of hours of research and testing, which included measuring sea currents and weather patterns, as well as measuring sea creatures such as dolphins and sea birds.
But the arkenest of the arkes largest ship was never built.
The Ark of Promise The Ark arrived at the port of Nisibis, on the Black and Tuscany coast, in December 1621.
It was an incredibly important milestone in the Noahs journey, and the arker had to pass through a complicated ceremony to officially start the voyage.
“You have to do a great deal of paperwork to get this ship ready,” Mr Foley says.
The first arks voyage began on December 1, and Mr Foley remembers that it was quite chaotic, with no order, no communication and the ships sailing without anyone knowing who was on board.
“They’re so secretive in their business that they don’t tell you how many people are going, they don, they say, ‘We have a ship ready to go’,” he says.
Mr Foulkes was one of the first people to go aboard the arked ship.
“I was just on my first voyage and I was thinking, ‘How is this ship going to work?’
And it just worked.”
The ship was originally supposed to be called the Ark Of Promise, but Mr Fowler says it was never called that because the arket was not yet ready.
“It was called the Arks of Hope because of the promise it had to fulfill in the future,” he says, referring to the Bible’s account of Noah’s first expedition.
“In the end, it just ended up being the Ark.”
But not all the arcks journey was a success.
Some of the Ark’s most famous