So far, Jean-Jacques Savin's barrel is "behaving well." Hopefully it will continue to do so, as the barrel—actually a large "barrel-shaped orange capsule," per the BBC—is transporting the 71-year-old Frenchman on a monthslong journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The former pilot, park ranger, and military paratrooper set off Wednesday from Spain's Canary Islands, with the Caribbean as his final destination—the nearest islands of which are about 2,800 miles away, per Deutsche Welle. This is no Niagara Falls-style barrel (check out AFP's pictures here). Savin's vessel is crafted of resin-coated plywood that's designed to resist both waves and killer whales, with a solar panel that will give him enough juice for GPS and communications. The $68,000 Savin needed for this trip was raised mainly through crowdfunding; his adventure is being documented on Facebook.
Savin's trip is said to be partly inspired by Alain Bombard, who crossed the Atlantic in 1952 in an inflatable dinghy with next to no provisions; he survived mainly on the fish and plankton he encountered along the way. Savin won't be going as hardcore as Bombard: He's got a sleeping area and kitchen, as well as rations of foie gras and white wine for New Year's Eve, and a bottle of red for his 72nd birthday in mid-January. He won't be forced to survive on fish, either, though he will be able to see them swimming through a porthole in the barrel's floor. While he's making the arduous journey in his 10-foot-by-7-foot container, Savin will leave markers behind to help oceanographers study ocean currents. He'll also be observed personally so that the effects of being completely alone in close quarters can be studied. (A South Carolina man's Atlantic journey didn't go as planned.)