Dr. Dominique Gorlitz begins construction of the Abora IV, which will in part retrace the mythical voyage of Jason and the Argonauts.

Late last week the Abora team arrived in Bulgaria to set up base camp in the small industrial town of Belova. Their mission: begin construction of the Abora IV.

Dr. Dominique Gorlitz has a different journey in mind for the new vessel, which will resemble a scaled down version of the Abora III.

Commencing in Sochi, the Abora IV will traverse the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, passing through the perilous Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, ultimately spilling out into the Aegean Sea. In essence they will be recreating the first half of Jason and the Argonauts’ voyage in reverse.

Greek mythology dates Jason’s quest to around the year 1300 BC, shortly before the Trojan War. Gorlitz believes the actual stories of sea travel that inspired the myth date back much further. Remains of Mediterranean tribes and even Egyptians have been found in the Black Sea region that predate the Argonauts by millennia.

The crew is prepared to encounter many of the same hazards sailors of millennia past faced. They will also face modern dangers such as numerous cargo and passengers ships that dwarf their tiny reed vessel.

New challenges and an uncertain final destination await the crew in the Aegean.

In the words of Gorlitz, “We are facing [a] dangerous passage through the islands of the Aegean. Here we will not find wind force 10, but a lot of swells and dangerous island channels that will challenge all our skills and the seaworthiness of our new reed boat. I have great respect for this section, which is considered one of the most unpredictable in the whole Mediterranean Sea. At the moment I cannot predict what will be our final destination. However, we will do our very best to sail in the wake of the Argonauts as long as possible into the Mediterranean Sea.”

As of now the Abora IV does not have a firm sail date, but to quote Gorlitz, “The launch date for the expedition is inexorably advancing.”

We’ll keep you informed.

The Abora / Aqua Survey Connection

Play Video

Aqua Survey has been a scientific sponsor of Gorlitz and the Abora mission since 2007 when we met them at a marina in Jersey City. That summer we towed the Abora III out to sea to begin its attempt at a transatlantic crossing.

Watch the video recap: