President Kersti Kaljulaid was among those to see the Admiral Bellingshausen off from Estonian waters at the Port of Roomassaare in Saaremaa on Wednesday, as the yacht, ultimately bound for Antarctica, begins to make its way south.
"I am proud to see our sailing yacht off together today to deliver the message that Estonians have always been a seafaring people, which have even discovered a continent, and that Antarctica was of significant importance to Estonians 200 years ago and remains important today," Kaljulaid said according to a press release.
The message being sent along with the yacht is that 200 years ago, the world's seas were significantly cleaner, and worries about the planet significantly smaller, the head of state continued, adding that this is a message that has not yet sufficiently sunk in for all Estonians.
"And so the Bellingshausen, traveling far from home, has to bring that knowledge and understanding home to us as well that we want to stand for a clean planet and fight for it alongside other Nordic peoples," Kaljulaid said. "So that ice shelves don't melt, glaciers don't degrade and that our planet remains usable once our children and grandchildren have grown as well."
The Admiral Bellingshausen set sail from Kronstadt, Russia, on July 11. It called on Sillamäe, Helsinki and Tallinn before making a final stop in Estonia in Saaremaa, the birthplace of the yacht's namesake Baltic-German naval officer and explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen.
The crew of the Admiral Bellingshausen intends to reach Antarctica on the bicentennial of the discovery of mainland Antarctica on Jan. 28, 2020.
Editor: Aili Vahtla