THE replica of a wooden Phoenician ship, which visited Lyme Regis last year, has completed its 6,000 mile voyage across the Atlantic.
The Phoenicia visited Lyme Regis last July before setting out on its voyage from the old port of Carthage, Tunisia, in September. It called in at Cadiz (Spain), Essaouira (Morocco), Tenerife (Canary Islands) and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) before arriving in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club on Thursday, February 4.
During its visit to Lyme Regis, members of the public were welcomed aboard for tours, as well as special guests including town councillors.
The ship’s trans-Atlantic voyage was part of the Phoenicians Before Columbus Expedition, designed, with the help of the US-based Phoenician International Research Center, to show that Phoenician ships could have crossed the Atlantic over 2,000 years before Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the American continent.
British adventurer and expedition Leader Philip Beale FRGS, captains The Phoenicia, sailing with a multi-national crew with representatives from the United States, the Lebanon, Tunisia, the UK, Norway, Holland, Brazil and Indonesia.
Amongst the crew is film maker Yuri Sanada from Aventuras Produções, Brazil. He documented life on board as well as the challenges the Phoenicians were likely to have faced.
Snippets of his work can already be found on the expedition’s social media and on youTube.
The expedition has been endorsed by the Ministries of Information and Tourism of the Republic of the Lebanon and received support, expedition supplies and services from numerous organisations in the Republic of Tunisia.
It is also part of the United Nations Environment ‘Clean Seas Campaign’, taking daily water samples to measure microplastic levels and raising awareness about plastic pollution in the ocean.
A wide international following has already grown for this unusual and inspired endeavour. Some believe the Phoenicians made it to the Americas and look for genealogy and archaeological evidence there.
Beale is focused on highlighting their engineering and maritime skills and hopes that one day his work will contribute to wider archaeological findings to inform a bigger Phoenician story.
In the UK, Phoenicians Before Columbus is approved by the UK’s Scientific Exploration Society and the expedition is the proud recipient of the 2019 Captain Scott Society’s ‘Spirit of Adventure’ Award.