The Abora IV, a reed boat to cross the Mediterranean

The boat is a replica of the Pharaohs’ ships. The crew will try to reach Crete from the Black Sea. A very controversial, historically questionable expedition.

It looks great, the Abora IV, with its 14 meters long, its two cabins and its hull realized in reed. Twelve tons of reeds tied by 2,000 meters of rope. The ship is a little stocky, not really hydrodynamic, but it must withstand the often rough waves of the Aegean Sea.

According to its designer, Dominique Goerlitz, a German adventurer-researcher, he will sail in the footsteps of the Egyptian merchants who were going up the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. A beautiful reconstruction, which is not unlike that of the Kon-Tiki in 1947, balsa raft that crossed the Pacific from Peru to the Tuamotu Islands.

Dominique Goerlitz found his inspiration in Hérodote’s writings, says AFP. In fact, the Greek historian even reports that the first navigation around the African continent dates back to 600 BC. Pharaoh Nechao had commissioned an expedition led by Phoenician sailors. The Egyptians therefore did not limit themselves to the waters of the Nile. The Mediterranean and the Red Sea were familiar to them.

A known history

Replicas of ancient ships have already been built, in particular by referring to a bas-relief of a temple in Luxor. In 1500 B.C. a fleet chartered by the Queen Pharaoh Hatshepsout probably sailed in the Red Sea. This expedition was reproduced by naval archaeologist Cheryl Ward, as Stéphane Begoin reminds us.

Confronted with this historical reality, the Abora IV project takes on a little water, which the specialists of Pharaonic Egypt do not fail to say.So the Egyptologist Chloé Ragazzoli explains to the Figaro: “The Egyptians practiced navigation from the Old Kingdom, but with wooden boats.”

Patatras. In fact, the papyrus was only used for small boats, rafts composed of bundles of papyrus bound together. These boats made it possible to move in the marshes. For the high seas, the Egyptians used wood.

The ultimate departure from the historical truth is that Abora IV is not made from papyrus, but from reed. Egypt no longer produces papyrus and the designers turned to the Indians of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, specialists in reed boats.

As a result, the Abora IV fleet, but the objective is now more of a human adventure. Will the boat withstand the odyssey? 1300 km between the Bulgarian shores and the coasts of Crete.Egypt will be for a next stage!