People sure like trying to get to the Expo in weird ways. First was that dude who swam from Wuhan, now here’s a person who built a “Noah’s Ark” made of discarded bottles and spent over five months drifting down 1500km of river to finally make it to Qingpu District.
On Sunday, Xia Yu (夏宇), a 37-year-old outdoor enthusiast, finally arrived in Shanghai after five months and three days of rafting. His origin was Xiangtan in Hunan Province, where he owns a restaurant. According to Xinmin, he first got the idea when cleaning up the discarded bottles his establishment generated.
He first collected 1,500 bottles and built a boat. Last October, on the bottle vessel’s virgin trip, he drifted 55km from Xiangtan to Changsha in 23 hours. With the success of his first “drift,” he decided in April this year to try and get to the Shanghai Expo.
His upgraded ship used 2010 recycled bottles to assemble a 7-meter-long ship with a 5 meter high sail. On the sail were printed the words “Our Mother River, Our Future (我们的母亲河，我们的未来) and “Low Carbon life, Beautiful Expo (低碳生活，美丽世博).” The ship would move entirely on wind and hand paddling, making it a zero carbon adventure. He also had some help from several friends and fans who would help him paddle to Shanghai.
But how did a 1500km trip by boat manage to take 5 months when a 1200km swim only took 33 days? Apparently, it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
The original plan was to get to the Expo in just 45 days. But after successfully sailing through Changsha, Wuhan, Jiujiang, Nanjing and Zhenjiang, the boat was overturned in Chizhou. The damage was so bad that it was impossible to sail out again.
Xia stored the boat in Chizhou and returned home to Xiangtan to rest. Two months later, he was finally ready again. He took his equipment back to Chizhou, spent 20 days fixing the boat and once again embarked on the journey.
Unfortunately, because of safety rules, he wasn’t allowed to sail directly into the Expo. Interestingly enough, the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration said that since “Noah’s Ark,” with its minimum speed of 2.5km per hour, was actually too fast for Expo waters.
But Xia was upbeat about it. “It’s okay that we couldn’t enter it, we just docked and took pictures from a car. The Ark doesn’t have to enter the expo, as long as it’s the perfect trip in my heart.”
Pictures from a Tianya thread documenting the trip.