Tsunami 'Noah's Ark' – Kuta Alam, Indonesia - Atlas Obscura

Tsunami 'Noah's Ark'

Kuta Alam, Indonesia

After a 2004 tsunami, this stranded boat was left in place. 


In December 2004, one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded triggered a tsunami and caused a lethal disaster in Indonesia. In and around Banda Aceh, 90,000 people died, and about a third of the city was destroyed.

When the giant wave swept ashore, it carried this boat with it. The boat was deposited on top of a house and survived the storm, sheltering dozens of people who lived in the area and who may not have survived otherwise. One survivor described the sound of the boat hitting the roof of the house as “like thunder.” The group spent seven hours in the boat, waiting until the waters receded to leave it.

Because it saved those people from the flood, the boat is sometimes called “Noah’s Ark.” Other boats were stranded on the roofs of the city, but this is the only one of those that was left where it landed.

Another, larger stranded ship, the PLTD Apung 1, was stranded further inland and has been turned into a memorial. While the stranded Noah’s Ark saved people during the flood, the Apung 1 crushed two houses with people still inside.

Know Before You Go

The boat is near the harbor, and there should be signs, reading "Kapal di atas rumah," guiding the way. The boat is well-known locally, and it should be possible to hire a bike or car to go directly there.

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July 5, 2017

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