After 2020 put a stop to a planned Flat Earther cruise to Antarctica, where passengers hoped to find the giant wall of ice they believe surrounds our flat disc of a planet, one Italian couple took matters into their own hands.
The man and woman, both from Venice, set sail towards Lampedusa – an island between Sicily and North Africa – to find “the end of the world”, which they believe is near the Sicilian island, reports Italy’s la Repubblica.
Having sold their car to buy the boat in Termini Imerese, a town in northern Sicily, the couple had to sail around the island to make it to Lampedusa, which in the last decade has become a common transit point for migrants and refugees trying to make the treacherous journey from Africa to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea.
Unfortunately for the Flat Earther duo, they didn’t quite make it to their intended destination, ending up instead on Ustica, an island situated just northwest of where they set off, and a very long way away from Lampedusa.
A doctor at the maritime health office of the Ministry of Health, Salvatore Zichichi – who helped the couple after they got lost – revealed that they were using a compass to navigate. This, he said, presented a problem.
"The funny thing is that they orient themselves with the compass, an instrument that works on the basis of terrestrial magnetism,” Zichichi told the Italian newspaper La Stampa. “A principle that they, as Flat Earthers, should reject."
The couple were taken into quarantine on Ustica, before trying to escape, being taken back to quarantine, and then trying and failing to escape once again. After they had decided to stay put and fulfil their required time in quarantine, the couple abandoned their doomed boat and took a ferry back to mainland Italy.
The story represents yet another setback for the Flat Earther community, widely mocked for their belief that Earth is in fact flat, and not – as has consistently been proved – round (or, to be precise, an irregularly shaped ellipsoid).