In the past, Donna D’Errico ran the beaches of Baywatch. Today, she is hunting for Noah’s Ark. She is planning an expedition to Mt. Ararat to search the dangerous mountains for the Ark that survived the great flood. As a mother of two, she has raised her children with the daily Rosary and Mass and now is following her childhood dream in the great outdoors. She has taken a few moments to answer some questions regarding her next trip. She also needs our help to get there.
1) It has been awhile since we last spoke, thank you for taking the time to update us here at Ignitum Today on your recent life goals. In the last interview, you had recently returned from a expedition on Mount Ararat complete with tents, climbing, camera, gear, and even a fall that injured you. What have you been doing since this last adventure?
Since returning from last year’s expedition, I’ve mostly been preparing for my next one! It takes a lot of planning. And since much of Mt. Ararat is unexplored, trying to plan a route for an expedition up there is difficult. We have to rely on Google Earth, aerial photographs, ground-level photographs, and memory. I’ve also spent time reviewing the hundreds of photographs we took last year and all of the video footage taken for the documentary I’m doing on my search. Plus, of course, being a mom 😉
2) My favorite picture of you from the last expedition included a brown scapular that you wore and in the last interview you mentioned praying the Rosary daily. How have you been spiritually and physically training for the next expedition?
I have been training by hiking at least two hours a day on the most difficult trails I can find, wearing a backpack with around 25 pounds of weight in it. I’ve also trained with a professional rock climber to brush up on the basics of belaying, basic knots, etc. I, of course, pray every day about it, too. I thank God for keeping me safe during my last expedition and for having had the opportunity to go last year and search for the Ark, and pray that I’m able to get back there this year to search again.
3) You started a campaign. I was sad to hear it is not for the governor of California. Can you tell us a little about this Kickstarter project you have begun? How can we get an autographed copy of the DVD you will be producing?
Governor of California – ha! You caught me off guard with that one. Yes, my Kickstarter campaign…I launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed to make a documentary about my search for the Ark on Mt. Ararat. I did some filming last year while there, but since I couldn’t climb and search at the same time we are missing a great deal of footage needed for the documentary. I’d like to take a professional cameraman with me this time to cover the entire expedition and search, and would also like to have each member of my team wear GoPro cameras on our chests and backpacks to capture everything while climbing that the cameraman cannot get. I also want to use the GoPro cameras to have each team member record personal video diaries each day to use in the documentary. And then I will need funds for post-production as well. But I won’t be able to do any of that unless I raise the remaining funds needed. Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. That means that I must reach my goal by the end of the campaign, or else I get nothing at all. It’s a very brief campaign – just 15 days – so I’m really hoping that the Catholic community will get behind me and support my campaign so that I can get this documentary made. There are lots of cool rewards associated with my campaign – all Kickstarter campaigns have rewards associated with them. If you pledge $25, you get an autographed DVD of the completed documentary. For $100 you get the signed DVD, a t-shirt, and your name listed in the end credits under “Special Thanks”. You can even get the helmet I wore during last year’s expedition and that I will be wearing on this next one. But most importantly, you get to help make the documentary possible.
4) Ok, last question because I know you are very busy. After the trek to Mount Ararat, you find Noah’s Ark, what happens next? What would happen to the Ark and what plans do you have afterward?
I don’t have any grand notions that I will be the one to find the Ark. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I dream about just that every night. But that mountain is truly enormous. It’s the largest single-mass mountain in the world. One really must see it in person to appreciate just how truly immense it is. It is also largely unexplored and undocumented on film. The area of the mountain where most Ark research is focused is the northeastern side of the mountain, which also happens to be the most perilous and dangerous side of the mountain to attempt to climb due to the constant rockslides and avalanches on that side. The other factor involved in searching for the Ark is the weather. Around every twenty years or so, there is a massive thaw-back on the mountain. It is during those years that various military and other people have claimed to have seen the Ark in the past. You can never predict how much of the permanent glacier on the mountain will thaw back from one year to the next, so I can only hope that there will be enough of a thaw while I’m there that perhaps I might see something.
But to address your question, let’s say I do see something up there. There have been so many false claims and frauds over the years that, unfortunately, I am not sure that any amount of evidence would convince some people that it is truly the Ark. There are so many out there who drive doubt into the minds of the faithful, without a counterbalance by an equal number of faithful dispelling that doubt. Many of the faithless want everyone to believe that Noah’s Ark was a myth, that it couldn’t possibly have held all the animals necessary to repopulate the earth, and that the Ark itself would have decomposed long ago. So, these ideas get drilled into people’s heads. If you hear something enough times, you start believing it to be true unless you educate yourself otherwise. So, if and when the Ark is again re-discovered, I unfortunately think that people still would not believe because so many today have been conditioned to believe that most of the Bible is myth.
There are over 1 million species of animals in the world today. The vast majority of those are aquatic. Those would not have been brought aboard the Ark. Animals such as sea turtles wouldn’t have been brought aboard the Ark, either. The Bible says that the Great Flood wiped out all land animals that breathed through nostrils, except for those on the Ark. Insects do not breathe through nostrils, so it’s doubtful that Noah would have brought insects aboard. The Ark measured 300 X 50 X 30 cubits, which is roughly 450 X 75 X 45 feet. That works out to roughly 1.5 million cubic feet – the equivalent of 569 modern railroad stock cars. The average stock car can accommodate 240 sheep, which would have been the average size animal on the Ark. Keep in mind that the Bible did not say two of every species, but rather two of every kind. That means that one feline kind, rather than every species of feline, would have been taken aboard the Ark. The same with one canine kind, one equine kind, etc. Horses, zebras, and donkeys would have descended from whichever equine kind was taken aboard the Ark. Smaller animals would have been kept in cages stacked on top of each other. As few as 2,000 animal kinds could have been taken aboard the Ark, which would have resulted in all of the species we have today. Even if you pad that number to account for error or extinct animals, the Ark would still have been large enough to easily accommodate even 16,000 animals. In fact, to satisfy even the most skeptical, you could even assume as many as 50,000 animals were aboard the Ark, which is far more animals than would have been required. Even so, 50,000 sheep-sized animals would still only have taken up 37% of the space on the Ark, leaving the equivalent of another 361 railroad stock cars worth of space for food, supplies, and Noah’s eight member family. There was more than enough room on the Ark.
As for the Ark decomposing long ago, that, too, is not necessarily the case. Between seventeen and twenty square miles at the top of the mountain is permanently encased in ice and snow year-round. Entire wooly mammoths have been found encased in ice, perfectly preserved. Why is it so difficult to believe that a wooden ark would not fare as well in a frozen environment?
Thank you Donna for keeping us up to date on your latest expedition goals. It is always a pleasure to hear from you and follow your journey. If you would like to follow Donna’s updates on Facebook, here is her page. She always tweets here. If you would like to donate or share her campaign on Kickstarter, here is the link for the page.