It’s the first time anyone has ever attempted to cross Antarctica from Madagascar to the mainland in a boat.
The trip is part of the first leg of the Antarctica One adventure, a partnership between the World Food Programme and the Dutch company WPP that will take passengers to the continent’s north, starting in Malagas, the capital of the Indian Ocean archipelago.
The boat will leave Malagasi on October 16, sailing west across the Antarctic ice sheet.
It will reach the western coast of Antarctica, where it will land at an international airport and then cross the continent by boat.
It’s part of a broader plan to circumnavigate the continent from its northernmost point to its southernmost, reaching the Antarctic continent from the north in about 10 years, according to WPP.
The aim is to show that the Antarctic Ocean is not an impassable barrier.
The plan is based on a concept called “openwater sailing”, which is to get around the ice sheet by boat without touching land, and on an approach that aims to get the boat from the ice to the surface as quickly as possible.
It was part of an international scientific collaboration that included scientists from Europe, the United States and Australia.
In February, scientists from the US and the UK successfully circumnaved the Atlantic Ocean by boat from New York to Cape Cod in about one month.
“This is a very exciting time for the Antarctic,” said Michael Trew, an expert on openwater sailing at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Snow and Ice Data Center.
“We’re seeing an increased amount of interest in these kinds of expeditions.”
Trew says the aim is not to become a national sport, but to get people into the water for longer periods of time, which could lead to an increase in commercial sailing, which has been slow to take off in the past.
“The biggest benefit for these types of expedues would be that they’re really accessible to the public and they can do it in the winter,” he said.
“It could be a way to bring people into open water sailing as opposed to the longer, more challenging journeys.”
It will also help establish a link between Madagascar and the islands of Mauritius, where there is a thriving open water tourism industry, said WPP’s head of international operations, Martin Drosselmeyer.
This project is the first in a series of international openwater voyages to Antarctica, which will also explore the Antarctic Peninsula and the south pole, as well as the Antarctic peninsula’s southern coast.
The project will not only test the boundaries of the Antarctic, but also its weather.
The next step will be to test how long it will take to cross the Antarctic by boat on open water.