Updates:

1st Voyage

  • June 14, 2021 - Report from the Documentarian Team

    Documentarian News for the Sailing Vessel Neptune | June 14, 2021
    By Jett, Lydia, & Relio

    Sailing Vessel Neptune Article

    Mr Boken’s seventh grade class waited until February for their Teacher to get a grant for the Mini boat. He eventually got one from the HB Fuller company. The plan was to spend every Wednesday for the rest of the year at school working on the mini boats. At first students spent the time choosing teams. There were many options from Climatology programers, to Social Media.

    The first day students came in was February 24, early in the morning. It was mostly just figuring out what their jobs were going to be until the boat launched. Some students who were planning to stay remote for the year even came in to begin sanding.

    And so it began, every wednesday teams met both live and on google meets,but before teams like the hull and sail team could begin designing, the class had to choose a name for the boat.

    Over the course of about two weeks students put in the google classroom ideas for names of the boat and their reason why they believed it should be chosen. They ranged from Poseidon to Bob. When the time finally came for the boat’s name to be chosen there was a total of forty-three names. Then students voted on their top twenty names, and the ones with the most votes moved on to the next round and they did the same with five names, and finally two. The last two names were Neptune and Stella-Nova. Neptune won, fourteen to eight.

    Now every team that had a job painting, started to design their parts of the boat. The teams were inspired by the name Neptune and chose to represent both the Roman deity and the planet. The Hull and keel team chose to paint an ocean scene and the deck and sail decided to paint the night sky with the planet and its moons. To prepare teams sanded and drilled.

    The PR team and IR digital media team were in charge of contacting professionals for the different departments to meet with. The teams that had to paint, met with Holly Andres, an artist and photographer. She also met with the documentarian and social media teams to discuss the best ways to tell a story using photos and videos. The Quartermasters met with a professional climatoligist Tyler Kranz and learned more about currents and wind speeds.

    The day April 25th was spent at Marine Park in Vancouver Washington with the keel team testing the mini boat in the waters of the Columbia by prodding it and flipping it over to see if it righted itself. Overall the venture was successful but their was work to be done.

    On May fifth teams finally came into paint, starting with spray paint, mixing and first coats outside Mrs. Gerlach’s (Wyeasts art teacher) classroom. Some class days were even spent outside in the shade putting the finishing touches on the boat.
    Other teams like Cargo transport spent time drilling holes in Mr.Burris’s class and planning what would go in the hold. Climatology programmers started attaching sensors. Quartermasters chose to drop the boat off the shore of California, near Eureka one hundred miles out. The boat was finally coming together as some teams finished up their jobs.

    On June 1st the class found out they would be meeting with state representative Jamie Herrera Butler in only three days. Each team wrote a short speech about what they did to contribute to the boat. On June 7th the class prepared by setting up the mini boat and logging on to a zoom meeting. Overall it went smooth with only a few hiccups with remote students speaking. Ms. Butler agreed to put a note in the cargo hold along with the letters and flags.

    On June 10th the plan was to hold the christening ceremony at Wyeast at 4:45. Almost all the class made it. The IR Digital Media team did an amazing job announcing all the different events. People read poetry, gave speeches and participated in different cultural ceremonies like, sprinkling salt over the boat to purify, honoring the three winds and spinning the boat three times clockwise. The last event was the crashing of the bottle against metal. On the first try sponsors Alex Mcimillan and Catriona Foreman broke the sparkling cider on the first try. Dominic Garza read the toast and the students drank, celebrating the end of an amazing project and a difficult school year.

    Neptune was released into the open ocean on June 30th and Wyeast Middle Schools Excel 8th grade class moved on to eighth grade waiting for news of their mini boat.

  • Video reports from all the teams!

  • Photo Gallery of Student Work

  • July 18, 2021 - Launched and successfully reporting sensor data

    It was then up to Mr. Boken to coordinate the deployment. Even though school had ended for the year, students stayed connected through an online classroom. 

    Mr. Boken reached out to Mr. Nate Sandel, the Education Director at CRMM and lead Captain of the CRMM Miniboat Program. Mr. Sandel was heading out to launch two of their miniboats, Destiny and Second Wind from the Alaskan Sunrise. Mr. Boken was welcomed aboard and a triple launch of miniboats happened 100 km west of Garibaldi on July 18. Destiny and Second Wind traveled down the coast and landed in California, but Neptune traveled south. 

    The miniboat Neptune was launched on 7/18/21 at 16:30 GMT. Special thanks to the CRMM Miniboat Program and Nate Sandel for coordinating this launch and allowing Mr. Boken to join the fun.

    Here is the launch video:

     

    This miniboat is the first miniboat with a Maker Buoy adapted sensor package. It is outfit with air temperature, water temperature, and orientation sensors onboard. It also has a camera!

    On July 19 at 14:33 UTC, the first ever high res photo from the deck of a miniboat at sea reported through the satellite (see below). Congratulations to Wy’east Middle School!

    Here are a couple of moon light pictures that came in later:

    Zoom in to the map below to see the data reporting from the sensor package.

    Unfortunately, the Neptune stopped reporting on August 12.

  • September 27, 2021 - Report from 1,099 km away

    On September 27, the Neptune sent a location message 1,099 km away from the last report on August 12. It was traveling at about 1.84 knots at the time. The students were again engaged in their online classroom.

  • March 23, 2022 - Recovered in Hawaii!

    Reports after September 27 happened in December and then again on Monday, March 21, but they did not have locations reported. It was, however, further evidence that the boat was still afloat. On Tuesday, March 22, the students had a discussion about that March 21 report. 

    And after 5 months of not knowing where the Neptune sailed to, teacher Joe Boken received a phone call from a fisherman with the answer: Hawaii!

    On March 23, 2022, the Finest Kind Sportfishing Maui’s The Reel Hooker, set out 3 hours out of Lahaina, Hawaii. They were a few miles off the far side of Lanai when they spotted a “floater.” This is what fishermen call drifting debris that’s been floating for a long time , and under these “floaters” tend to be congretating Mahi Mahi, which is what they are always on the lookout for. In this spot, they ended up catching a Mahi Mahi (see picture) but then pilot whales showed up and scared the fish away. They went to investigate the “floater” and found what appeared to be a little boat partially submerged in the water with only the sail and bow on the surface. They recovered the vessel to find that it was a student project from Wy’east Middle School. 

    The boat was brought to a school on Maui and there are now plans to connect students virtually. Mr. Boken said when asked what the next steps were, “It’s not up to me. This is the students’ project. I hope the students on Maui will open up the cargo hold and see the messages inside, repair the boat, and fill it back up with their own and then set it back to sea to continue its journey with more students onboard as it goes.”

    KATU2 News interviewed Mr. Boken the following day and they aired this video. PLEASE NOTE: The footage in the video is not of the Neptune.

    The Columbian published the story on March 29, 2022 with an article titled, Wy’east Middle School students’ small boat Neptune recovered off Hawaii (By Griffin Reilly).

     


    PRESS RELEASE:

    educationalpassages.org/needle-in-the-haystack-miniboat-neptune-arrives-in-hawaii

    CONTACT: Cassie Stymiest, Educational Passages, 207-619-1259, cassie@educationalpassages.org

    Needle in the Haystack: Miniboat Neptune Arrives in Hawaii

    VANCOUVER, WA. Another 5.5 foot long uncrewed student sailboat (miniboat) was recovered on March 23, 2022 after 248 days and 5,347 km of traveling across the Pacific. Its recovery was a surprise to the students involved, not in where it was found, but that it had been found after 5 months without a GPS signal. This boat, named Neptune, is the first Educational Passages miniboat to reach Hawaii.

    Earlier this year, another miniboat from Rye, New Hampshire (see educationalpassages.org/rye-nh-classroom-connects-with-norway-school-in-unique-way/) sailed across the Atlantic and made national and international headlines when it landed in Norway on January 30 after 4 months without a GPS signal where it was recovered by a middle school student. Due to outcomes like these, Educational Passages, the nonprofit organization based in Maine that runs the Miniboat Program, is reaching its mission to connect students around the world to the ocean and each other through these projects (educationalpassages.org).

    Educational Passages worked with Wy’east Middle School  (see sites.google.com/evergreenps.org/wyeast) on the Neptune last year as a part of their Miniboat Program. “The miniboat project was so engaging for my students when we did it with the CRMM Miniboat Program the previous year, that I wanted to give a new set of students the same opportunity,” said Mr. Boken who led the project at Wy’east Middle School. “So I wrote a grant to the H.B. Fuller Foundation, which has a division located here in Vancouver, and it was awarded.”

    H.B. Fuller, a global, industrial adhesives manufacturer, sponsors a Community Affairs Council (CAC) in Vancouver, Washington, to support local community organizations and initiatives that matter to its employees. The Vancouver CAC recently sponsored the Wy’east miniboat because of its combined focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and youth leadership development. Students, together with their families, interact with multiple science disciplines through the Wy’east program, which can spark their passion for science and leadership, and hopefully their own commitment to supporting their communities in the future.

    Educational Passages shipped the kit and teams were assigned in early 2021. With special permissions from the school, students came in person to work on the boat. “Once the pandemic started, my science students were the only ones consistently coming to class and it was due to their engagement with this project,” said Mr. Boken. Throughout the project, students shared their progress on Facebook (facebook.com/wyeastminiboats) and their community about their experiences. They connected with other students in the school, worked with other teachers like the Art, Shop, and STEM teachers, and chatted informally among friends and family as well. The community also supported this project as parents and community members were invited as advisors and virtual presenters. These included NOAA weather scientists, social media experts, artists, and even a local Congresswoman.

    After a celebration event in June and school ended for the year, Mr. Boken reached out to Mr. Nate Sandel, the Education Director at CRMM and lead Captain of the CRMM Miniboat Program. Mr. Sandel was heading out to launch two of their miniboats, Destiny and Second Wind from the Alaska Sunrise. Mr. Boken was welcomed aboard and a triple launch of miniboats happened 100 km west of Garibaldi on July 18. Destiny and Second Wind traveled down the coast and landed in California, while Neptune traveled to the southwest.

    The Neptune reported its position via GPS and also data from sensors that the Wy’east Climatology Team installed. The sensor system, which was designed by Wayne Pavalko at Maker Buoy (makerbuoy.com) for a drifting buoy, was modified for the miniboats in 2021. “It’s been great to collaborate with Educational Passages because we want to contribute to environmental awareness and a better understanding of the ocean environment,” said Mr. Pavalko. “Education and innovation are a big part of our work.” An image from the deck of Neptune came through the satellite feed on July 19, another miniboat first.

    Educational Passages has been working over the years to add this technology to their miniboats. “These sensor packs are now collecting air temperature, water temperature, pitch, and images from cameras,” said Educational Passages Executive Director Cassie Stymiest. “Since the boats are drifting by the currents and sailing with the wind, we should be making sure we can collect as much data about that journey as possible. This will help us all to better understand what is happening out at sea and how the ocean is changing. Our goal is to build that knowledge so it  will lead to awareness and then action.”

    By the end of July, the GPS systems on Neptune started to fail and it was not heard from again. Then, on March 23, 2022, the Finest Kind Sportfishing Maui’s The Reel Hooker, set out 3 hours out of Lahaina, Hawaii. They were a few miles off the far side of Lanai when they spotted a “floater.” This is what fishermen call drifting debris that’s been floating for a long time, and under these “floaters” tend to be congretating Mahi mahi, which is what they are always on the lookout for. In this spot, they ended up catching a Mahi mahi but then pilot whales showed up and scared the fish away. They went to investigate the “floater” and found what appeared to be a little boat partially submerged in the water with only the sail and bow on the surface. They recovered the vessel to find that it was a student project from Wy’east Middle School. The miniboat Neptune had been found. “It’s like finding a needle in a haystack, times a billion,” said Mr. Brad Brucker, who was one of the clients on the charter at the time who helped recover the boat. Mr. Brucker reached out to Mr. Boken when the boat was found. “It was a needle in the haystack that the people who found it didn’t know there was a needle to be found,” Mr. Boken said.

    The boat was brought to a school on Maui and there are now plans to connect students virtually. Mr. Boken said when asked what the next steps were, “It’s not up to me. This is the students’ project. I hope the students on Maui will open up the cargo hold and see the messages inside, repair the boat, and fill it back up with their own and then set it back to sea to continue its journey with more students onboard as it goes.”

    This is the second miniboat from Wy’east. The first, named Liberty, is currently in the Marshall Islands. Ms. Kate DeWein, Principal at Wy’east said, “we teach students that they are a part of an interconnected global community and I love how this project illustrates that in a hands-on and tangible way. They will always remember this experience.”

    To read the full story and see what happens next, visit educationalpassages.org/boats/neptune/ and follow other miniboats at sea from educationalpassages.org/events/atsea/.

    About Educational Passages

    Educational Passages is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to connect students around the world to the ocean and each other. Teachers purchase kits with boat parts and supplies, and students build them, fill them with messages and trinkets, install the provided GPS, and send them out to sea to ride the ocean currents and wind. Students follow the track on the miniboat’s very own webpage, and teachers integrate ocean currents, geography, and other topics into their curriculum to connect the miniboat mission. When the boats land, the sticker on them says to bring the boat to a nearby school and connect classrooms. Since 2008, Educational Passages has worked with teachers and students around the world to launch 164 miniboats and reaching at least 29 countries to date.

    For additional information about Educational Passages, please visit www.educationalpassages.org or call 207-619-1259. Social Media links: Facebook @educational.passages Twitter @miniboats Instagram @miniboats

Support our students! Please consider supporting our program with a donation. Thank you to the H.B. Fuller Foundation for funding this particular project. Sponsors and donors allow us to to inspire students, support educators, and connect communities.

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Here is the Wy’east Middle School Neptune Crew in June 2021:

It was set to sea on July 18, 2021:

The Neptune miniboat sailed for 248 days and 5,347 km where it was recovered in Hawaii by a charter boat crew from Finest Kind Sportfishing Maui: 

Read through the page on the left for the full story, and check out updates on the Wy’east Miniboats and Drifters Facebook page!

MARCH 2022 PRESS RELEASE – CLICK HERE