Could you live on a melting iceberg?

18 May 2015By Zoe Dickens

Freezing cold, isolated and inhospitable – there’s a reason that it is polar bears, not humans, who live on icebergs. Unless, of course, you happen to be extreme athlete Alex Bellini.

The 36-year-old Italian adventurer, mental coach and motivational speaker is going to make history by living alone on an iceberg until it melts. Bellini will head to the Ilulissiat Glacier in Greenland, where most Atlantic icebergs are formed, late in 2015. After selecting the perfect 200-300m long tabular iceberg (the type least likely to unexpectedly flip over), Bellini will head south on the piece of melting ice until it finally disappears up to a year later.

The purpose of the project is to create a documentary called Adrift which tells the story of the last phase of an iceberg’s life. However, as one of the toughest challenges Bellini faces will be an almost complete ban on movement because of the increasing instability of the iceberg, he hopes it will also get people thinking about ways of coping with human weakness and learning to enjoy the time we spend alone.

To complete the mission Bellini will live in a survival capsule developed as a response to the growing number of global tsunami tragedies. The spherical capsule was originally designed to see up to nine people safely through tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters, making it ideal to protect Bellini against the collisions, cracks and overturning that may occur during his expedition. Once the iceberg has completely melted the capsule will stay afloat, providing Bellini with a safe place to live until a passing ship is able to pick him up.

Bellini himself is no stranger to isolation. In 2005 he rowed 11,000km across the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean by himself, sailing from Genova, Italy to Fortalenza, Brazil in 227 days. The crossing took three attempts with the first two ending in a shipwreck and near fatal crash. To follow up this feat, he rowed 18,000km from Peru to Australia in 294 days. As if that wasn’t enough Bellini also ran 5,300km in 70 days across the United States and pulled a sledge across Alaska for 2,000km.