The Estonian sailboat, Admiral Bellingshausen, about to set sail to Antarctica. Photo by the Estonian Maritime Museum.

An Estonian sailboat is sailing to Antarctica to celebrate its discovery

On 11 July, the Estonian sailboat, Admiral Bellingshausen, set sail from Kronstadt, St Petersburg, Russia, to Antarctica to celebrate 200 years from the discovery of the continent by the Russian admiral, Fabial Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who was born in the Estonian island of Saaremaa.

The more than six-month long popular science expedition with researchers on board is organised to remember one of the most important chapters in the history of exploration – and to draw attention to the current important topics arising from climate change, the Estonian Maritime Museum said in a statement.

“We will be able to achieve these goals with our good partners from several places around the world,” the co-organiser of the commemorative trip, Urmas Dresen from the Estonian Maritime Museum, said. “There are many exciting and meaningful meetings ahead that will hopefully motivate everyone following the expedition to set high goals and to think about the footprint we leave, as well as to find solutions.” 

The launching of the vessel began with a visit to the Russian Geography Society in St Petersburg, followed by a concert and a church service at St John’s Church in St Petersburg.

Planning to arrive on 28 January 2020

“We would like to celebrate the beginning of admiral Bellingshausen’s historical expedition with the Estonian and Russian communities,” the head of the expedition, Tiit Pruuli, said in a statement.

The crew of Admiral Bellingshausen is planning to arrive in Antarctica on the 200th anniversary of discovering the icy continent, on 28 January 2020. According to the Estonian Maritime Museum, a television series will be filmed of the expedition. 

The expedition is organised by NGO Thetis Ekspeditsioonid and Estonian Maritime Museum. The initiative is supported by numerous Estonian companies. 

Cover: The Estonian sailboat, Admiral Bellingshausen, about to set sail to Antarctica. Photo by the Estonian Maritime Museum.

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