It’s the madcap challenge with a strikingly sane goal – pedalling underwater from England to France to learn more about the marine environment.
Antoine Delafargue, 34, and Michael de Lagarde, 35, both engineers, were set to leave Plymouth, a city in south-west England, today (Friday, August 5).
The duo, who have both served in the French navy, will take it in turns to pedal their mini-submarine to Saint Malo, 250 kilometres away. Each day they will burn the same calories as that of a marathon runner.
The vessel, the smallest independent vehicle built for use at sea and the first to be human-propelled, is expected to take around a week to reach France.
They say their project, which has gone from a childhood dream to reality, aims to provide evidence of how well the English Channel is bearing up
Introducing their challenge, the duo wrote: “The English Channel is so close to where we live, but how well do we know it?
“Today, one question recurs in endless debates on fishing quotas, harmful green algae and marine-based renewable energies: how is the English Channel coping and what will it look like in 50 years’ time?.
“Our ambition is to bring to the public a representative vision of the depths of the English Channel, to help our research partners refine maps of the sea’s habitats and ecosystems.”
For more information visit www.projetpoissonpilote.com/en/
Watch the mini-submarine prepare for the launch