1st Voyage - Recovered after 102 days at sea (11/8/18 – 2/18/19) traveling 5,096 km
About the Raven KASTER
The School of Ocean Technology at the Fisheries and Marine Institute challenged Grade 8 students to create a 90-second video on the theme “How Oceans Affect Climate Change.” Here’s a link to the video challenge.
A Grade 8 class at Frank Roberts Junior High in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, won the video challenge. You can view the winning video here and here:
“Raven” is the school mascot of Frank Roberts Junior High. “Kaster” is a spin-off of “cast” – to throw something out in hopes of catching something. Also “Kaster” contains the first two initials of each of the three students who created the winning video. Such creativity in these junior high students!
About the Miniboat
This miniboat was prepared by the Grade 8 students with help from the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland. The students visited the Marine Institute for a day of activities. Together, the students learned about oceanography and currents, and took part in activities focused on boat building and ocean mapping. They also spent time preparing, naming and personalizing their miniboat. Prior to setting sail, the vessel was filled with letters and pictures from the students.
- Maersk Supply Service
- Marine Institute
- Journal of Ocean Technology
November 8, 2018 - Launched on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland
The Raven KASTER was launched on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland on Canada’s east coast by Maersk Supply Service at 0830LT on November 8, 2018. The crew provided the following details about the launch position and at sea conditions at the moment:
Pos’n 46 29.4’N
Wind : 252 T speed 18Kts
Current: 243 T Speed 2.2Kts
Maersk Nexus supported the deployment of Educational Passages’ mini-boat Raven Kaster off the coast of St. John’s last week. The goal of the programme is to educate students about oceans using GPS-equipped mini-boats. #educationalpassages #stjohns #offshorenewfoundland pic.twitter.com/sqEFEPNLPW
— MaerskSupplyService (@MaerskSupply) November 15, 2018
The following week, The Weather Network shared a video and resources: Largest waves on the planet target Newfoundland. Looks like Raven KASTER will be getting a big push off the banks into the open Atlantic…
February 2019 - Recovered in Ireland after 102 days at sea
In February, only 3 months after deployment, the Raven KASTER was approaching Ireland. Thanks to @tomshepp on Twitter for providing updates to its followers!
February 18, 2019
After 102 days at sea, the Raven KASTER was recovered on a beach in Western Ireland! Sean Molloy, Manager of Achill Tourism contacted the School of Ocean Technology at the Fisheries and Marine Institute by email, noting that the boat had been found by a local fisherman Darren Kilbane (shown in the photo on the left) on Dookinella beach on the south side of Achill Island on the West coast of Ireland. Darren is a fisherman and was very surprised to see the boat washed up on the road following a big storm that we have had here in recent days. Sean kindly noted, “On behalf of Darren, myself and the people of Achill Island, I would like to send you greetings and congratulate you on participating in this exciting project.”
The owners replied quickly as follows: “That’s great news! Thanks so very much for reaching out. And many thanks to Mr. Kilbane for rescuing the mini-boat. The Raven KASTER was prepared by Grade 8 students and launched off Newfoundland) in November 2018. Further details can be found here. What we’d like to do is connect the students with a school in Ireland and, hopefully, get it relaunched. We think this would be a great opportunity to make connections and engage students in both countries. We’ll be in touch again shortly! Please pass on our sincere things to Mr. Kilbane and thank you again for reaching out.”
Sean then noted: “The Irish schools are currently in mid term break. I’ll give your details to the local school and give them the memory stick with the letters too.”
February 19, 2019
The story was quickly shared through social media (see Facebook post above), and local (both Canadian and Irish) news channels. The Marine Institute (@marineinstitute) shared the following on Twitter: “We are so excited the Raven Kaster landed in such welcoming hands in Ireland. Watch
@NTVNewsNL‘s Beth Penny tonight as she interviews @FRJHschool, MI and Irish fisherman Darren Kilbane who found the miniboat.”
From all of us at Educational Passages we’d like to say Congratulations to the School of Ocean Technology at the Fisheries and Marine Institute, Frank Roberts Junior High, and all the followers of the Raven KASTER for a successful voyage across the Atlantic!
TG4, Local Irish News Station reported the story on their evening news, and Sean Malloy from Achill Tourism shared with us about the video that, “It’s basically about the project, that the local children will be getting involved and the second woman is talking about the irish link, that some places in Newfoundland have name that have Irish translations and that some of the surnames of the children are found in Achill.”
Students in Newfoundland were interviewed the evening of February 19 about their miniboat that landed across the sea:
March 6, 2019
An update was announced on the Newfoundland & Labrador English School District website: FRJH’s Raven Kaster Travels From NL to Ireland.
Summer 2019 - Essay Published in Journal of Ocean Technology (JOT)
The summer issue of the Journal of Ocean Technology (JOT), Tomorrow’s Ocean Explorers: Learning for Marine Career featured Educational Passages in their TRADE WINDS column, but Thomas Sheppard and Dawn Roche also published an essay about the Raven KASTER, The Little Boat that Could: Using Unmanned Miniboats to Teach STEM which you can read here.
Sept. 26, 2019 Article in Memorial University Gazette
An article was posted in the Memorial University Gazette in the special Community Collaboration section: Trans-Atlantic learning: Junior high students trace mini-boat’s voyage to Ireland’s West Coast by Moira Baird. Here is an excerpt:
“We do it to raise awareness about the oceans and to get young people thinking about how the world’s oceans impact their daily lives,” said Paul Brett, head of the school. “They learn about oceanographic conditions, sailing routes across the Atlantic and ocean careers. The ongoing GPS signal gives the students the opportunity to follow the mini-boat’s progress, see what it’s doing each day and learn about weather and storms that affect its journey.”
Voyage 1 - Complete
Click on tabs above to read the full story of the Raven KASTER miniboat’s journey that started in 2018.
2nd Voyage in the works 2022-2024
January 2022 - Update from Achill Experience in Ireland
We didn’t hear much about the miniboat after it was recovered in 2019, but on January 21, 2022 it appeared on Facebook at the Achill Experience, Aquarium and Visitor Centre noting that the miniboat had been donated there. We can’t wait to hear more and further connect people around this incredible story.
March 25, 2022 - NTV Interview about Miniboat Relaunches
Stephanie and Kaitlyn were interviewed by Beth Penney at NTV News at the Manuels River Center where another miniboat, the BHS Roweboat, was on display. Beth actually first interviewed them back in 2019 when the Raven KASTER first landed in Ireland!
Thank you @bethpenneyNL for talking with us today @ManuelsRiver about our @miniboat projects. Please tune in tonight on the @NTVNewsNL to hear about efforts to relaunch BHS Roweboat and plans to relaunch our own boat Raven Kaster in Ireland! @science_pwells @NLESDCA @nlta_mssic pic.twitter.com/QgV9Y1zJLx
— tomshepp (@tomshepp) March 25, 2022
Here is the produced piece that aired on NTV News Your Community segment on March 25:
May 17, 2022 - Ambassador of Ireland to Canada visit to Conception Bay South
The Town of Conception Bay South hosted a wonderful Reception Luncheon at the Manuels River Interpretation Centre where Kaitlyn and Stephanie shared their story to His Excellency, Ambassador Eamonn McKee, Ambassador of Ireland to Canada, and others in attendance.
Read more from the article posted on the Town’s website: Ambassador of Ireland to Canada visits Conception Bay South – Meets Town Council and students Kaitlyn & Stephanie to hear inspiring miniboat story.
Here are some pictures of the event thanks to Robbie Lee from Lee Creative.
And here is some feedback about the event from the Irish Embassy Canada on Twitter:
Wonderful to hear from Stefanie and Kaitlyn about their mini boat launch. The @miniboats project encourages deeper engagement with schools and between countries on our oceans. Their boat, Raven KASTER took a 3 month trip from NL and ended up in Achill. pic.twitter.com/8fxbMKIGZn
— Irish Embassy Canada (@IrlEmbCanada) May 17, 2022
The students were interviewed by Marykate O’Neill from NTV News after their presentation, and were featured on the Your Community segment that evening. Click here or on the image below to watch the full segment.
In the interview, when asked what the students would consider for the relaunch, Kaitlyn said, “Just thinking about all that we’ve learned about the ocean and the data that gets collected from these miniboats into consideration when up there trying to relaunch our boat.”
Also in the interview, the Ambassador of Ireland to Canada, Dr. Eamonn McKee said, “It’s a really important project. They did it a few years ago when they were quite young. It’s inspired them and their educational choices, but it’s also inspired a lot of public awareness here in Conception Bay South about the oceans and about the health of the oceans and how we need to preserve them, but also educating a new generation about the importance of the ocean.”
The broadcast was also picked up in Mayo, Ireland by Connacht News’ Western People.
On May 19, 2022, Barry Petten, MHA at House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador also recognized the project. In a Facebook post Barry Petten said, “a Members Statement the Raven KASTER miniboat project, congrats to these two young ladies and their teachers. I wish you much success!” Click here or on the image below to watch the video of the statement as read.
To hear all about the Ambassador’s trip to Newfoundland, and specifically the reactions about the Conception Bay South visit and student presentation, check out this podcast:
June 8, 2022 - Kaitlyn and Stephanie present at FRJH
Kaitlyn and Stephanie returned to Frank Roberts Junior High on June 8, 2022 to present about the Raven KASTER Relaunch Project in Ireland. FRJH is where the project all started back in 2018!
Thank you @FRJHschool for inviting Kaitlyn and Stephanie to present to your staff about the @ravenkaster Relaunch Project in Ireland. Great to visit the home of our miniboat and see so many wonderful teachers! @NLESDCA @marineinstitute @TownofCBS @miniboats pic.twitter.com/JciuDGCXRZ
— tomshepp (@tomshepp) June 8, 2022
December 6, 2022 - Students connect over Zoom
On December 6, 2022, students from Frank Roberts Junior High in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada met online with students from Coláiste Pobail Acla in Achill Island, Ireland. The purpose of the meeting was to officially start their collaboration on an ocean science project involving the relaunch of Raven KASTER miniboat.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the meeting took place at the Manuels River Interpretation Centre in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada (pictured here, right), while Irish students were at their school called Coláiste Pobail Acla in Achill Island, Ireland (pictured in Zoom gallery photo).
The meeting was moderated by Ambassador Eamonn McKee from the Embassy of Ireland in Canada. Other participants included Cassie Stymiest (Executive Director, Educational Passages), Sheena Fennell (Senior Oceanographic Technician with University of Galway), Kieran Reilly (Scientific and Technical Officer in the Marine Research Infrastructures team at Marine Institute in Ireland), Kyle Allen (Research Advisor, Embassy of Ireland, Ottawa), and others in the room in Conception Bay South, including Kaitlyn Grandy (Youth Ambassador, Raven KASTER Relaunch Miniboat Project).
CBC Radio reporter Todd O’Brien also joined the crew at Manuals River, and interviewed the students after the connection. Here’s the episode:
— Educational Passages (@miniboats) December 8, 2022
August 2023 - Visit to Ireland
July 2023 Update:
Our Canadian Team is heading to Ireland in August to work with students @CPAcla1 on the relaunch of our miniboat! Great example of global learning! @TownofCBS @GalwayAquarium @AchillEXP @IrlEmbCanada @canadaireland @EUinCanada @JustinTrudeau @CanadianPM @MarineIrlNet @MarineInst pic.twitter.com/gW736pwpYF
— Raven KASTER (@ravenkaster) July 23, 2023
2023 Visit to Ireland
In August, students Stephanie and Kaitlyn, along with Mr. Sheppard and friends, visited Ireland where they had lots of tours and opportunities to meet others in the marine industry, see their miniboat again, and in person meet the people who have been helping to keep the project going in Ireland.
They took tours of XOCEAN, Galway Bay (with the Galway Bay Boat Tours), Marine Institute, Galway Atlantaquaria, Achill Experience, Aquarium & Visitor Centre, Dookinella Beach where the miniboat landed, and lots of places and stops around Ireland during their trip. We can’t wait to hear about it in their next podcast episode!
The project continues to receive a lot of media attention as well. Here are some of the highlights:
- In July, Paula Gale from The Broadcast interviewed us in the Town of Conception Bay South about our upcoming trip to Ireland to meet the Irish Team: The saga of the ‘Raven KASTER’ continues | The Broadcast with Paula Gale | Live Radio | CBC Listen (only available to list to in Canada)
- In early August, Austin Comerton of Irish Radio Canada interviewed Students Kaitlyn Grandy and Stephanie Evans chat about the launch of their Miniboat, the Raven KASTER, as they prepare to travel to Ireland where it landed to relaunch it again. – Irish Radio Canada
- In mid-August, The Shoreline covered our appearance at the council meeting for the Town of Conception Bay South prior to our trip: CBS-built miniboat to journey home from Ireland – The Shoreline News
- And on August 16, Kaitlyn and Stephanie were highlighted on Galway Bay FM: Canadian students to visit Galway for reunion with miniboat which washed up off West Coast after 100 days – Galway Bay FM
- While in Galway at the Galway Atlantaquaria we were interviewed and the story appeared in the Irish Independent newspaper: Small boat launched by Canadian students sets sail again from Mayo after 2019 storm carried it to Ireland | Independent.ie
- Also, Mr. Sheppard and Steph were on RTE 1 Irish radio: Miniboat from Canada – The Ray D’Arcy Show (Podcast) (rte.ie)
- Paula Gale of The Broadcast did an interview with us while we were in Achill which included Ambassador McKee the Raven KASTER miniboat crew are in Ireland | The Broadcast with Paula Gale | Live Radio | CBC Listen (only available to list to in Canada)
- The Mayo News interviewed us in Achill as well about our collaboration with people in Ireland, especially with our Irish team of students at Colaiste Pobail Acla: Unique bond created after Canadian mini-boat docked on Achill Island – Mayo Live (mayonews.ie)
November 2023+ The project continues to connect
November 9, 2023
Installing and testing sensors began in the fall of 2023. By November 9, they had made great progress:
November 22, 2023
A Zoom meeting was held with members of both the Canadian and Irish teams, as well as Mr. Sheppard and Cassie from Educational Passages.
November 24, 2023
The crew in Ireland was interviewed by Paula Gale on CBC’s The Broadcast:
The Raven KASTER Relaunch Project
Since the miniboat “resurfaced” in January of 2022, two of the original students Stephanie and Kaitlyn and their teacher Thomas Sheppard started working together again in hopes to see their miniboat sail once more. They visited Ireland in 2023 to meet the team there who are upgrading it with sensors and repairing it for a relaunch. Members of both teams continue to share their story and pass on learning opportunities to other students and people around the world.
The students and Mr. Sheppard visited classrooms and community members throughout Conception Bay South in 2022-2023 to raise money for and awareness about their project and trip. They also started the “Raven KASTER PodKast” in August 2022. Episodes so far include:
- What is the Raven KASTER Project? August 2, 2022
- Our talk with Ambassador Eamonn McKee September 29, 2022
- Relaunching 3 Miniboats in Newfoundland and Labrador December 21, 2022
- Update: Raven KASTER Miniboat Relaunch Project in Ireland May 1, 2023
- Stephanie and Kaitlyn talk about their experience at CWOIL June 8, 2023
- The Canadian Raven KASTER Support Team June 10, 2023
- Our talk with the CBS Mayor and Deputy Mayor July 3, 2023
- Heading to Ireland August 18, 2023
We invite you to explore this webpage to learn more about the project and follow along as it continues. To read our summary of the history of the project and goals for the next voyage, click here to download PDF flyer or click on the image below.
Updates from Ireland: Check out the Instagram page (@ravenkaster_achill_2023) hosted by the students in Achill Island, Ireland, who are posting updates on their work to repair and upgrade the Raven KASTER miniboat.
In 2018, a Grade 8 class at Frank Roberts Junior High launched a miniboat called the Raven KASTER on the Grand Branks off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. In 2019, after 102 days at sea the Raven KASTER landed in Achill Island, Ireland.
In 2022, lead students for the project, Kaitlyn and Stephanie, from Conception Bay South, were 2023 Graduates of Queen Elizabeth Regional High School and set out to visit Ireland to see and relaunch their miniboat. In August 2023, they made it happen! Follow along with us on this page, and social media channels. Search “Raven KASTER” on Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter).
The Raven KASTER Crew would like to thank the following:
Or mail your donation to:
PO BOX 465
Kennebunk, ME USA 04043