Updates:

1st Voyage

February 13, 2018

After not hearing about the Jackelope for many months, an email appeared from a George Kaola that reads as follows:

“The Jackalope Project by the University of Wyoming in the United States was dismantled by the finder from Ontong Java Atoll. It is a small sailing boat about a meters long with a tracking device (GPS), purposely to study the wind and current of the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately the finder dismantled everything when he found it.

My daughter and I inspected the boat

When I first read about this project in the local paper late last year 2017, I contacted our people in Ontong Java and even posted it in our facebook group (Marae Forum) but without success. I suspected such thing would happened because most of our population in the island are illiterate. Also they usually dismantled tracking devices with solar that were attached to fishing net from big fishing boats whenever they found it.

When I went home for Christmas I enquired and located it so I went and got it. I felt so sorry about what happened to it. I do apologies on behalf of the finder who ruined the project.

My kids were so sad about what happened to the boat.

It is sad because the information about the project are written on the boat yet they ignored it. “This is a result of illiterate and lack of knowledge of such project”. I assume the level of language in English is very complicated for our people to understand it and also there should be a clear message telling the finder not to destroy or remove anything from it. Because the boat would be expected to arrive at places where people know little about such project and even how to read.

I (with hat) took it to our men’s beach hut and told them about this project and my disappointment of what happened to it.

I brought the boat over to Honiara just in case those from the University want to come over and repair it, reinstalled the missing GPS and launch it again. It is without any GPS, the information documents and the sail also is broken.”

September 2017

Jackalope’s story has been reported in the news – by the University and local printers Gillette News Record. Here are a few quotes from the stories:

  • “She traveled 12,310 kilometers in 190 days at sea, or 9,550 kilometers along a great circle,” Cheadle explains. “That’s the longest straight-line distance traveled in a single voyage by one of these boats. A few have gone farther, because they’ve been relaunched or go around in circles.”
  • “Maybe they’ll contact us?” Cheadle says of residents living on the atoll. “But, it is a pretty remote place. Only 2,000 people live on the entire atoll, and its only contact with the outside world is a supply ship visit once a month.”
  • “I still hope that we will eventually receive some correspondence from the finders of the little ship,” says Theresa Williams, a middle school teacher, whose students at the Lab School built the small craft. “Since we haven’t heard anything yet, I wonder if they have internet access on the atoll/island. I don’t know if they speak one of the languages we included in the instructions.”

August 2017

On August 22, 2017, after several months of sailing west and logging 12000 kilometers, it was apparently recovered and brought on to a very small atoll east of Papa New Guinea and north of the Solomon Islands. Stay tuned for more.

February 2017

Jackalope was built from a kit by ten 7th and 8th graders under the supervision of Mrs. Theresa Williams at the University of Wyoming Lab School. The students included maps of Wyoming and a flash drive with a slideshow about the project in Jackalope’s waterproof hold, so finders will be able to learn a little about Wyoming and the boat’s history and contact students at the UW Lab School. Instructions for recovery and redeployment are written in multiple languages on the hull to help students in another country send Jackalope back on her journey.

Thanks to Mike Cheadle and Barbara John, this boat was deployed off the R/V Atlantis near Easter Island in the Pacific on 12 February 2017. The story of the cruise and all the activity that went along with it is posted  at https://www.pitodeep.org/.

Jackalope is the first mini-boat to be deployed in the South Pacific, the first to include an Iridium transmitter with global coverage, and the first to be launched by a school from the Rocky Mountain Region (a 7,280 foot drop in elevation for the boat).

 

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Jackalope is the first mini-boat to be deployed in the South Pacific, the first to include an Iridium transmitter with global coverage, and the first to be launched by a school from the Rocky Mountain Region (a 7,280 foot drop in elevation for the boat).