Reports of Flat Earth cruise to Antarctica are 'blatantly false', conference founder says

Are a group of Flat Earth believers planning to sail to Antarctica, believed to be a giant ice wall at the edge of the planet?

The reports have generated a flurry of media attention across the world, drawing ridicule and scorn. One headline even called it the "dumbest cruise ever".

However, Flat Earth International Conference (FEIC) founder Robbie Davidson told Newshub that's not the case - and he's disappointed the rumours have been treated as fact.

"There's no credibility to it... it's not going to happen," he told Newshub.

"It's frustrating... when I see all sorts of media running a story I know is blatantly false.

"Everyone's buying into it. People are laughing, having a good time, talking about how stupid it is - it's not true."

Composite image of Robbie Davidson and an illustration of a flat Earth.
Robbie Davidson founded Flat Earth International Conference. Photo credit: Supplied/Getty

One common Flat Earth theory is that Antarctica is in fact a giant wall of ice, surrounding the rest of the planet and providing an 'edge' to the world.

However, this theory does not account for Antarctica's 24-hour sunlight in summer and darkness in winter, which is often accounted for as simply a hoax - despite wide-ranging first-person reports and videos saying otherwise.

Davidson acknowledged a cruise is coming up, with a Flat Earth conference on board, but its course is not quite as dramatic as rumours would lead you to believe.

He wouldn't publicly say where the cruise is heading as it has yet to be announced, but firmly denied all reports the FEIC is involved in a cruise to Antarctica.

"All the website says there's a cruise in 2020. It's simply a conference on a cruise ship - nothing more, nothing less," Davidson said.

"It's an intriguing story and a cool concept, but there's no credibility to it."

Whether the Earth is flat or not, even just trying to voyage from the United States would prove a massive challenge, he pointed out.

Antarctica and much of its surrounding waters is heavily protected under international law, in an effort to preserve its unique ecosystem and environment.

"It would be a massively long journey [from the United States] and you need massive amounts of permission to even go to Antarctica... Why would anyone in their right mind do a cruise - it's one thing to do an expedition, but why do a cruise?"

In New Zealand, only one cruise company is authorised for trips down to the Ross Sea.

Another issue is how navigational systems would work. In January, The Guardian spoke to a former cruise ship captain who said it's all based on one simple principle.

"Nautical charts are designed with that in mind: that the Earth is round," Henk Keijer said.

"I have not encountered one sea captain who believes the Earth is flat."

Sea ice in Antarctica, with Mt Erebus behind.
Flat Earth believers speculate Antarctica is actually a giant wall of ice. Photo credit: Breanna Barraclough / Newshub.

Davidson told Newshub he's not trying to tell people what to believe and he's disappointed Flat Earth believers are often the target of mockery.

"I don't think people realise that people are behind it [the belief]," he said.

"They'll laugh and they'll have fun at their expense, because who cares? Who seriously in their right mind, in 2019, can be that stupid to believe we're not on a ball in space?"

He encouraged people to take time to do their own research and decide what to believe, pointing to his own experiences with the Antarctica rumours as evidence you can't trust everything you read.

"You can believe in something all you want, but the question is, what's the truth?" Davidson said.

"What I'd say to people is listen. Don't believe a word I'm saying or what any of us are saying, go out and do your own research.

"We're not anti-science... At the end of the day it's not about believing the Earth is flat, it's about can we have a dialogue, come together and have a good discussion, and let's bring all the evidence to the table - or is there just going to be name-calling and ridicule?"

The rumours have come about shortly before the New Zealand Flat Earth Expo, which is being held in Auckland next month.