Recently I sought to pick the brains of ‘somebody in the know’ concerning the Flood, but I won’t say ‘who’. The person gave a really good response to my question but then added something else that I had to seriously consider. [I love picking brains because ideas are tossed around that would normally not be given a second thought!] The on-going debate is ‘Did the Ark have a skeg on one end, and a large sail-like projection on the opposite end?’
A skeg and sail would have been dangerous!
If you are convinced that the Flood happened by means of the Catastrophic Plate Tectonics Theory, it would make sense to have such a thing attached to the Ark.
On the other hand, if you are convinced that the Flood happened by means of the Hydroplate Theory, a skeg on one end, and a large sail-like projection on the opposite end would be detrimental for the safety of the Ark. Why? Well, when the Fountains of the Great Deep broke open, the surrounding air would have been swept upwards along with it. In other words, all prevailing winds at the beginning of the Flood would have been moving directly towards the Fountains of The Great Deep. If it had had such an attachment, the Ark might have sailed right into the Fountains! Of course the mighty rushing water coming out of the Fountains probably would have prevented it to begin with, but towards the end of the period of 40 days of rain, when the Fountains were becoming overwhelmed by the Flood, the rushing waters might not have been strong enough to prevent it.
Once the Fountains were overwhelmed and the rain stopped, the air would have been calm for about another 110 days until the land began to slide away from the Mid Ocean Ridge. After that, the heat rising from the newly exposed Mid Ocean Ridge, and the massive amount of heat rising up from the volcanoes in the newly formed Western Pacific Ocean floor would have generated some intense global winds.
Where did the Ark float?
Where was the Ark while these things were going on? Well, during the first 150 days of the Flood, I’m convinced that the Ark was floating over ‘Africa’, and ‘fenced in’ by the Fountains of the Great Deep, which almost completely surrounded ‘Africa’. Why ‘Africa’? It’s because the ‘Middle East’ where Eden was located, was part of ‘Africa’. Noach would have lived in Eden where the presence of God was (See Genesis 4:16). At that point in time the Hebrew Text indicates that the Ark was ‘walking’ on the waters (‘teilech’ translated as ‘went’ in 7:18 (see below) is the idea of something traveling smoothly. The root word is ‘halak’ which means ‘to go’, ‘come’ or ‘to walk’.)
What ‘Ararat’ really means tells us what happened to the Ark
Then apparently, when the land slid away from the Mid Ocean Ridge, the Ark was pulled along with it. Sometime at the end of the first 150 days as ‘Africa’ slid away from the Mid Ocean Ridge in the ‘Atlantic’, it snagged into ‘Eurasia’ which was sliding away from the Mid Ocean Ridge in the ‘Artic’, and then kept going for a little while. The ‘Middle East’ was the section that ‘snagged’. At the same time ‘India was departing from the Mid Ocean Ridge in the ‘Indian’ Ocean and doing a head on collision with Eurasia, and in the process forming the ‘Himalayan Mountains’. ‘Iran’, ‘Afghanistan’ and the surrounding areas crashed into ‘Pakistan’ as ‘India’ headed towards ‘Eurasia’. While all this was happening in the waters below, apparently the waters at the surface of the Flood in that area were colliding too, and for a time the Ark was caught in the turbulence. The name ‘Ararat’ is the ‘headline event name’ that describes what was going on. The following words¹ are all embodied in the word ‘Ararat’, with the primary ones being ‘to pull or pluck’ and ‘flowing curls’. When you put them all together, ‘Ararat’ means ‘To be plucked from the curse of the twisting, curling, spinning, swirling flow’.
In Genesis 8:4 we read that the Ark was resting upon the mountains of Ararat exactly 150 days after the Flood began². That doesn’t mean that the Ark was beached upon Mt Ararat at that point in time. Instead it was floating over the tops of the mountains in the region of Ararat. The tops of the mountains didn’t appear until 74 days later. The water must have been either extremely high because when Mt Ararat did appear, it was probably closer to 20,000 feet high³, or at that point in time, the mountains were still in the process of being pushed up.
What kept the Ark in place?
So what was the mechanism that was causing it to remain floating over that particular area? Well, if you have the ‘African’ body of water and the ‘Eurasian’ body of water pushing against each other, at some point there is going to be water that remains stationary. It would have to be something enclosed in a ‘break-water’ type ‘harbor’. The Ark was in that kind of situation. Between it and the Caucasian Mountains (still underwater) where the ‘head-on collision was occurring, was a barrier of mountainous terrain (also still underwater) that surrounded the area where the Ark was resting. Mount Ararat itself is now on the ‘Southern’ side of this ‘break water’ arrangement. At the time when the Ark began to ‘rest’ it was at the Eastern end because the earth was only beginning to roll.
Once the Ark began to rest in this safe harbor, then the winds began. Let’s go back to 8:1-3…
At the end of verse 8:1 ‘yashoku’ means ‘to lower itself, to cause to abate, to be quite, still, a sinking down, to decrease, to assuage’. [And keep in mind that after the Ark was beached on the side of Mt Ararat, according to the names in Genesis 10, there was still a lake below them on the Armenian side and a separate one on the Turkey side. See here.]
So… now back to the subject of did the Ark have a skeg [a ‘whatchamacallit’] on one end, and a large sail-like projection on the opposite end. Apart from none of the eye witness accounts³ saying that it did, would such a thing be necessary? Well, it seems to me that the Ark would have been floating around in a similar situation to the logs floating around in Spirit Lake at the base of Mt Saint Helens in Washington. There would have been massive amount of debris floating in the water along with the Ark, such as huge logs, branches, and all kinds of stuff. (They would have also been plucked from the swirling flow.) The prevailing winds at that time were probably coming off of the Mid Ocean Ridge and blowing towards the East, which would have eventually pushed the Ark onto the side of Mt Ararat that faces Armenia. I just don’t see the need for either ‘skeg & sail-like projection’ or ‘drogue stones’. (Drogue stone lines would have gotten tangled up in the debris.)
¹The Analytical Hebrew & Chaldee Lexicon by B. Davidson
²The 17th day of the 7th month. The Flood began on the 17th day of the 2nd month of the 600th year of Noah’s life.
³Today it is just short of 17,000 ft. and the eye-witness accounts say that the Ark landed somewhere near the 14,000-16,000 foot level. See http://www.noahsarksearch.com/Eyewitnesses.htm