October 2017 - Creating the Boat-a-Lahti
As the students got to know their miniboat and began prepping her for a sea adventure, an article was published in the Daily Astorian about the program at CRMM, and highlighted their work. Read the article here, dated October 9, 2017: “Knappa students build miniature boats in exchange with Japan” – “I believe that peace is only achievable if we know each other, and this is an incredibly important and meaningful project in those terms… We are a tiny community with lots of fishermen. We should be connecting across the ocean, right?” – Melissa Reid, Grade 3 teacher
February 11, 2018 - Launching day
The Boat-a-Lahti was deployed 9 miles SW of the New Point Loma Lighthouse in California Waters via the USCG Cutter Alert. The Alert’s home port is Astoria, Oregon and a common site to visitors of the Columbia River Maritime Museum as she is moored directly in front of the Museum. One of the student’s in Mrs. Reid’s class dad, CSC Adam Greenwald, arraigned the launching during their current patrol off the coast of North America.
Cmdr. Tobias Reid, commanding officer, and Chief Petty Officer Adam Greenwald, a culinary specialist, both from the Coast Guard Cutter Alert, homeported in Astoria, Ore., launch the mini-boat Boat-A-Lahti off the coast of San Diego, Feb. 11, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Alert.After the launch, CSC Greenwald sent us a message with the following report:
Boat-A-Lahti is underway as of 2115 PST 11FEB2018!
She was launched at position 32*35.89N 117*22.36W.
On scene wind was 140* true at 6 kts.
Sea swell was 250* true at 2ft and no wind wave was noticed.
February 12, 2018 - At Sea: 10 Hours | Traveled: 14 miles
After only 10 hours at sea the Boat-a-Lahti washed up on Mission Beach in San Diego at dawn and was picked up off the beach by lifeguards on their morning patrol. After Museum staff made a few phone calls they were on the phone with Brian Zeller in the lifeguard tower who informed us that not only does he have our miniboat, but he owns a house in Astoria, Oregon and has visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Brian kindly offered to relaunch S/V Boat-A-Lahti 3 miles offshore as soon as wind conditions are favorable.
At Sea: 10 Hours | Traveled: 14 miles
February 14, 2018 - Relaunched
Relaunched with help from the lifeguards.
February 23 - Landed after 9 days at sea
After being redeployed she traveled down the coast and landed on a fairly remote beach outside the Guerrero Negro Baja.
February/March 2018 - Recovery efforts
On February 28, 2018 Melissa Reid and project leader Nate Sandel spent the afternoon making recovery arraignments (in Spanish) with the Captain of the Port and Mario of Mario’s Eco Tours. Just another fun day of miniboating!
Boat-a-Lahti was recovered from a beach in Mexico in early March.
April 2018 article, "In One Ear: Go west, young boat, go west - The misadventures of Boat-a-Lahti"
The Daily Astorian published an article on April 6 about the Boat-a-Lahti titled “In One Ear: Go west, young boat, go west – The misadventures of Boat-a-Lahti“.
June 20, 2018 - Ready for relaunch
We received news on June 20th that the Boat-a-lahti is ready to be deployed between June 30 and July 5!
Gerardo Hernández reported to Melissa Reid: “Good day Teacher Melissa Reid and third graders. After greeting to, I would like to let you know that we have Boat-A-Lahti’s launch ready to go for approximately June 30 to July 5. That is when there is a boat leaving for Western Asia. Of course, the tricky part is figuring out where they can drop her so that she can make her own way. We have recently taken her out of the office so that she can get her solar panels all charged up.”To which Melissa replied: “Excellent news! Thank you a thousand times over!” with a note of thanks to him, Don Mario, and says “We feel a connection between our communities that will never be forgotten. We remain in debt and grateful.”
Summer in Baja
Boat-A-Lahti has spent her summer in Guerrero Negro on the Baja Peninsula, near to where the whales calve and the salt water evaporates in North America’s (maybe the world’s?!) largest open-air salt production facility.
One of the tugboats that pushes the huge barges full of salt out to the Island of Cedros to be loaded into ships’ hulls and then head out around the world also loaded up Boat-A-Lahti earlier this week, and delivered her to the Captain of the Port on the Island of Cedros.
The Captain of the Port on the Island of Cedros was kind enough to visit with the boat captains with boats currently anchored nearby and getting ready to head out to the open sea, and a tuna boat named the Maria Isabel II agreed to take Boat-A-Lahti along with her!
The pictures are of her loading onto the tugboat for her ride out to the island, and then the transferring of her to the Maria Isabel II.
September 4, 2018 - recovered after 6 days at sea
Boat-A-Lahti sailed for only 6 days down the Baja Peninsula. Thanks to a plea on the Friends of Scorpion Bay Campground and Cantina Facebook group page, we discovered that the miniboat was found and recovered! Special thanks to Fernando Aguilar Meza for his efforts and the photo confirming BAL’s recovery!
May to July 2019: Summer road trip
Boat-A-Lahti is currently on her “Grand Tour of the West” as she makes her way home to the Columbia River Maritime Museum for repairs and Hilda Lahti Elementary School for a rechristening.
The Boat a Lahti was loaded into the back of Janet Hurd Harrington’s pickup truck who the Columbia River Maritime Museum connected with via Facebook. She agreed to drive the boat home with her to Colorado. The plan is to have the Knappa students help with repairs and relaunch from Baja next school year.
Janet was kind enough to bring Boat-A-Lahti to a local school to teach them about the project before she left. Melissa Reid will help us in making a Spanish language website over the summer so the students in Baja can get folded into our program.
Melissa Reid, who’s class built the boat last year picked it up from Janet in Colorado and bring it to Astoria for repairs.
February 13, 2020 Update: Repaired and ready for relaunch
During the months of January and February 2020 the 5th grade students of Hilda Lahti Elementary School repaired and prepared Boat-A-Lahti for a relaunch off the very coast of Baja where she crashed. Today she left Astoria strapped to the smokestack of the CGC STEADFAST for a launching into the trade winds. Special thanks to LT Atwell and the crew of the CGC STEADFAST for taking her onboard and putting her underway. Stay tuned for updates and video of the launch in March 2020.
March 6, 2020: Launched again!
The Boat a Lahti was launched for the FOURTH time off the Coast Guard STEADFAST on March 6, 2020 along with Philbert. You can see the pair on the deck of the ship as they were preparing for deployment (pictured right) and at sea during sunset (pictured below). Pictures and videos will be sent when the crew returns to port in April.
The Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Miniboat Program was developed in partnership with Educational Passages and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland. Students in the Pacific Northwest build unmanned sailboats equipped with GPS transmitters, one to launch from the coast of North America and the other to send to their partner class in Japan for launching. While the boats are at sea, students on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean will track their movements. Using real-time data on ocean currents and weather, students will share their predictions on where the boats will go next, and hopefully create lasting friendships.
The mission: to get the boats to cross the Pacific Ocean.
The outcome: through hands-on activities and meaningful opportunities, students are enlightened and empowered.