1st Voyage

The Washington Park Elementary School’s miniboat named PURPLE HURRICANE, was ready for launch in October 2022.

“This is a huge opportunity and learning experience for us. This is something most kids never get to experience, in fact, we’re the only kid’s in Georgia that are doing this, so we would like for everyone to be a part of this journey with us by tracking our boat with us,” said an announcement from the launch team – Excerpt from the Monticello News article, WPES Class Prepares To Launch Boat Project Into The Gulf Stream

Students produced the following video about their project:

  • October 2022: Student progress

    Here are some pictures of the progress so far (more will be added soon):

    Students also wrote a Newsletter about their project (CLICK HERE TO READ) or explore below:

  • October 19, 2022 - Final preparations and handover

    Teacher Cheryl Gerber reported on October 19 that their boat is in the final preparation stages. On Wednesday, October 26, students will visit the UGA Marine Science Center and have a Launch Party/Christening Ceremony at the end of their trip. They will hand over the boat to representatives from the company taking it out to the Gulf Stream, Watermark Restoration. Watermark is chartering Miss Judy Charters and they plan to launch the miniboat as a part of their trip.
    The company also posted pictures about their work with the students on LinkedIn:

  • November 1, 2022 - Launched 90 miles off coast of Georgia

    Email was received from Ms. Gerber in the evening, saying, “We officially launched today” and a video soon became available to share with the students how the boat was deployed:

    Purple Hurricane Launch Video November 1, 2022

    Big thank you to Miss Judy Charters and Watermark Restoration!


  • November 6, 2022 - Landed

    The PURPLE HURRICANE made a 5 day journey to Sapelo Island, Georgia and is awaiting recovery.


    An uncrewed 1.5m-long educational sailboat (“MINIBOAT”) is ashore just north of Nanny Goat Beach on Sapelo Island, Georgia (31.405805110931, -81.257457733154 ). Students and participants in the project from Washington Park Elementary School (Monticello, Georgia) are seeking assistance to recover it and bring it to a nearby school if it is safe and possible to do so. It has traveled 5 days and 360+ km voyage by wind and currents, and is part of a student project to study ocean science and provide a cultural exchange when it lands. The students would also like to see any pictures and videos that are possible so they can learn more about where the boat landed, and so the story can continue on the boat’s webpage: https://educationalpassages.org/boats/purplehurricane/. Please visit this website to learn more about the project and story so far. To the right is a picture of the boat before it was launched for reference – it is approximately 1.5m long and 20kg.

    Contact Educational Passages for more information and if you know anyone that can assist in a recovery to avoid damage to the vessel. It is an uncrewed vessel, like a “message in a bottle”. Thank you.

    UPDATE 11/7/22: Within hours of posting this notice, contacts were made and the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve/Georgia Department of Natural Resources stepped up to the challenge. They recovered the PURPLE HURRICANE and are keeping it safe for now. Special thanks to Corinne Zelie!

    Here’s the full video:

  • Voyage 1 Complete!

    Click on titles above to explore the first voyage of the Purple Hurricane.

2nd Voyage

The Purple Hurricane had a quick first voyage but by November 18 was back at sea for a second! Read the full story above and below.

  • November 18, 2022 - Launched for 2nd Voyage off North Carolina

    The PURPLE HURRICANE was launched for a 2nd voyage off the coast of NC on November 18, 2022 (around 8:10am local) thanks to Dennis at Watermark Restoration (again!) and Chad Turkett of Water Removal Services and PHIDEAUX Fishing Charters.

    Ms. Gerber, the crew’s Captain said about the second launch in an email, “We are hoping she will journey across the Atlantic this time.”

    Dennis made another awesome video for us, and captured some video of the boat sailing too! Check them out here:

    Purple Hurricane Launch Video November 18, 2022



  • September 29, 2023 - Landed in Wales

    We all tracked the Purple Hurricane across the Atlantic and by August 2023, it was heading east, just south of Cork, Ireland. Rory Jackson, who helped us recover Crimson Current last year, was on standby, but the miniboat kept us guessing as to where it would end up. For weeks it didn’t seem to make any linear progress, and then after September 19 it made its way towards the Bristol Channel, and almost towards the southwest tip of the UK. On September 23 it turned at started on a path northeast, all the way to the Pembrokeshire coast. We watched it go up and down in the tide, and reached out to our friend Ben at Ysgol Greenhill School in Tenby on September 29 as it looked like the miniboat was going to continue southeast closer to Tenby. We were watching hourly (as we were able to increase the GPS rate) and saw it take a turn north towards St. Annes Head and travel parallel to the coast there. By 21:40 it had made land in a rocky area near Watery Bay.

    Now we are watching the weather and tides to see if a recovery will be possible. The area has rocky cliffs, and safety is priority.

    Will post updates here when we know more.

    VOYAGE STATS: PURPLE HURRICANE’s second voyage took 315 days and traveled 11,538 km. In a straight line from start to end is 5,654 km. 

Here is the crew of the Purple Hurricane!