1st Voyage

The Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) and the Alfred-Wegener Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI) are partnering with Educational Passages to bring their Miniboat Programme to schools and communities around the world. This project will connect and unite people around ocean science.

The 2022 shipboard outreach initiative during the North-South Atlantic training Transect’ (NoSoAT) – from Germany to South Africa – will include four ‘miniboats’ from schools and oceanographic partner institutions in Ireland, Germany, Spain, and South Africa. The miniboats will be deployed in the Atlantic Ocean, allowing the school students to track the progress of their own vessel, and that of the others involved in the project, and learn about ocean currents, weather, technology, etc.

Three of the miniboats will be deployed by the R/V Polarstern along the Atlantic transect and one will be deployed by the R/V Algoa, along the SAMBA transect (Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment – Oceans & Coasts Research, South Africa).

In the preparatory phase, the schools and partner institutions will prepare their boats and learn about the NoSoAT initiative, a programme endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. They will install sensor packages on their boats, place messages inside for the finder, and coordinate transport for the finished vessels to board the research cruises.

During the ‘live’ phase of the project, in September, all four miniboats will be deployed, and live calls between the schools and the NoSoAT cruise will be held. All the participants will be able to share the stories and track the boats together on this publicly-available webpage.

POGO member Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO) is working with the Colegio Cisneros Alter to assemble their miniboat, El Cisne Alto (The Tall Swan) from Canary Islands, Spain. Explore below the story and join the journey with us.

  • June 2022 - Miniboat Preparations

    POGO member Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO) is working with the Colegio Cisneros Alter to assemble their miniboat, which will be launched off the R/V Polarstern in September.

    Here is an update about the project so far that they posted on social media on June 9:

    We participated in the project Educational Passages
    This initiative is an international education program, created and led by a multidisciplinary consortium of North American institutions, including the national agency NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration) ica) and various centers of secondary education.
    Over these weeks, and during their learning day in the technology subject, the different groups of high school students will have to build a small sailboat about 1.5 meters in length and about 20 kilos in weight starting from the same mould. Plus, this tiny ship will be equipped with a GPS transmitter to track you in real-time during its ocean voyage.
  • September 2022 - Launched

    On September 24 at 18:09 UTC, the miniboat El Cisne Alto (Tall Swan) was successfully launched into the Atlantic! Read more here.

    You can follow the R/V Polarstern and expedition of the NoSoAt cruise here.

    Follow the R/V POLARSTERN

    October 19, 2022 – Several students and leaders from the project were interviewed on the radio program Hoy por Hoy Tenerife:

    Read more about the interview (and see a picture from the studeio!) at the school’s website: https://www.cisnerosalter.com/entrevista-en-hoy-por-hoy-tenerife-a-varios-de-nuestros-alumnos-participantes-en-el-proyecto-mini-boat/

    November 9, 2022 – El Día Newspaper highlighted the student’s project. Click here to read: Minibarcos para descubrir el mar (Miniboats to discover the sea).

    Follow along and join the journey!

    We challenge you to check the wind and current forecasts and tell us where YOU think El Cisne Alto will be one month from launch.

    Add your predictions via this google form (click here). 

  • Click to access sensor data

    This boat was launched with two GPS systems onboard. The location reports from both units are showing on the map at the top of this page here (which updates hourly with new positions if available).

    Here below is where you can see the data reporting from the second GPS which is connected to a custom sensor package. In addition to reporting location with a secondary GPS tracker, this system is also collecting air temperature, water temperature, and orientation of the boat.

    Please note that the map below is showing only the last 7 days of data. If you are interested in looking at the data in a different format from the whole voyage, contact us.

  • March 3, 2023 - Recovered in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

    By mid-February, the sensor pack data was showing some interesting data and then zig-zag tracks. It was presumed that the miniboat was recovered by a sailing or fishing vessel. At the beginning of March, the GPS systems started reporting closer to the coast of Brazil.

    By March 3, the boat reported from the port of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Dr. Lilian Krug, Scientific Coordinator for POGO, took a quick lead to reach out to colleagues and networks who could help with the successful recovery and transfer of the boat to a local school. This notice was posted on social media and shared in emails:

    The communication efforts were all successful and the El Cisne Alto was recovered! We would like to thank everyone who was involved:


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    A post shared by Lica (@lica_ocean)

This is one of 4 miniboats in the NF-POGO 2022 Miniboat Fleet. The initiative is funded by The Nippon Foundation and Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) with support from the Alfred-Wegener Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI).

The NF-POGO Miniboats thanks all those involved for their contribution to the journey.