Whatever Happened To The Bantu Wind?
The Bantu Wind, the weather beaten cargo ship Indy, Marion, and the Ark of the Covenant hitch a ride on in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, was originally a coal carrying vessel built in 1955. Throughout its chequered, unglamourous life it sailed as The Steyning, then Ballywalter in 1971, and Sallywalter in 1979. It was sourced by production designer Norman Reynolds in Belfast, by now renamed Abeer Delta, and sailing under an Egyptian flag. It was sailed to Newhaven to be redressed for the film.
“It was rusty and really, really beaten up, so it seemed to fit the part. As filming approached, I decided to go back and just check it out – to my horror, I discovered that the whole boat had been repainted. With very little time left, I had to actually send our paint team over to put it back in its previous condition. It finally worked out, but it was a very nerve-wracking experience, to say the least.”
As well as being re-aged, she was given a tall dummy funnel. The real shorter one was hidden by packing crates. She was sailed to La Rochelle in France on June 21 1980 to begin filming. The ship met her end in 1990, when she was scrapped, not “blown out of the water.”
It’s not the years, it’s the nautical mileage….