Falmouth High School
1st Voyage - October 2019
In October 2019, students at Winnacunnet High School prepared their miniboat Riptide for a research expedition: To better understand sea turtle strandings in Massachusetts Bay. Partners included NOAA NEFSC/GOMLF, Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Refuge, University of Rhode Island, and Cape Cod Schools.
October 2019 - Preparations
Working with Felicia Page (URI graduate student), several different types of drifters were deployed to demonstrate differences in their tracks. In addition to standard surface drifters deployed by oceanographers, multiple kinds of mock wooden turtles as well as subsurface drogues and miniboats in 2019 were also deployed.
Here is a picture of a couple of the students getting ready to paint the hull.
October 31, 2019 - Launched and landed November 1
The first voyage of the Riptide was on October 31 and was accompanied by two surface drifters from Boston College High School (Boston, MA) and decorated by Boys Town New England (Portsmouth, RI).
The miniboat stranded quickly on 31 October around 22:39 GMT and was recovered by a WBWS volunteer on 1 November around 14:45 GMT.
Voyage 1 - Complete
Read above for all the details of the first voyage of the Riptide.
2nd Voyage November 2019
November 14, 2019 - Launched and landed
Here is the Riptide at sea for its second voyage in Massachusetts Bay which was on 14 November around 15:30 GMT. The Riptide was accompanied by drifters from Bethlehem Elementary (NH) and Lawrence School (Falmouth, MA).
The miniboat landed around 21:41 GMT on 14 November. Ted Bauer (pictured) volunteered to recover it and brought it to the Albatross to relaunch.
Voyage 2 - Complete
Read above for all the details of the second voyage of the Riptide.
3rd Voyage - November 2019
November 15, 2019 - Launched and Landed
On its third voyage which began 15 November, accompanied drifters decorated and built by Falmouth High School (Falmouth, MA), it landed in the sand dunes. Thanks to Ms. Boland who was visiting the Cape who helped to recover it and bring it back to Audubon for redeployment. Also thanks to NH State Trooper Lazos for this efforts as well! The local community is helping out a lot with this research project and we are very grateful.
Voyage 3 - Complete
Read above for all the details of the third voyage of the Riptide.
4th Voyage - November 2019
November 19, 2019 - Launched and Landed
Voyage 4 - Complete
Read above for all the details of the fourth voyage of the Riptide.
5th Voyage - November 2019
November 23, 2019 - Launched and Landed
The Riptide was released for a 5th time in Mass Bay on November 23, accompanied by redeployed drifters from Falmouth High. Thanks to beachwalker Bud Walcoulder it has been safely recovered.
Voyage 5 - Complete
Read above for all the details of the fifth voyage of the Riptide.
6th Voyage - November 2019
November 26, 2019 - Launched and Landed
The sixth voyage of the Riptide was on 26 November and was accompanied by redeployed drifters from Bethlehem Elementary. Thanks to Natalie for moving the boat to safety and Paul and Diane Teta who recovered it.
Voyage 6 - Complete
Read above for all the details of the sixth voyage of the Riptide.
7th Voyage - 2022
The Riptide is back in action to help us all better understand cold stunned sea turtle strandings in Cape Cod Bay! Thanks to students at Falmouth High School have been repairing and upgrading three miniboats to collect data during the 2022-2023 stranding season.
The Riptide will be relaunched with two GPS systems onboard. The location reports from both units will show 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 will only the last 7 days of data and may include invalid points and data. If you are interested in looking at the data in a different format from the whole voyage, contact us.
Riptide is one of 3 miniboats getting an upgraded cargo hold and to be relaunched in Cape Cod Bay to study cold-stunned sea turtles in collaboration with Falmouth High School.
December 21, 2022
The Riptide and Rockstar were both released into Cape Cod Bay around 1pm local time thanks to the US Coast Guard and specifically CPO Larry Johnson.
December 22, 2022
Overnight the two miniboats sailed northeast across the Bay and started to loop around:
A David Young while on his boat found the Riptide off the beach near Race Point around 8:30am and relaunched it a few miles away.
The winds shifted and sent both boats out of the Bay.
Riptide made landfall in Scituate that evening around 1:30 GMT (Rock Star did as well about a half hour later to the south).
Jim Manning reached out to longtime colleague Ben Haskell who is the Deputy Superintendent of the NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary because Riptide landed right near their office! Ben reached out to his staff, but a massive storm was also approaching the area, so recovery was not certain.
December 23, 2022
We awoke to an email thread with Dave Slocum and Michael Thompson from the SBNMS, who had ventured out in the early morning to recover the Riptide – and they were successful!
They also searched for Rock Star, which landed a bit further south but that made recovery of it more challenging with the storm and incoming tide. By afternoon they had found it and brought it back to the Boathouse!
Thanks to Ben, Mike, Amy, Dave, and Jim for the teamwork that made this a great success.
January 10, 2023
Jim Manning drove up to the SBNMS office and recovered the two boats that had been stored over the holiday break. He got to meet up with Ben (pictured in blue vest) and others while he was there, and thank them in person for their recovery efforts.
The two miniboats are now back at Falmouth High School with the third in their fleet that did not get launched, the Scarborough Sailor.
January 6, 2023
Falmouth Public Schools shared about the project in their “Clipper Corner” on January 6, 2023. To read the article by Sarah Murphy, click here: Falmouth Education Foundation Fosters Citizen Science
This miniboat is being deployed multiple times in an effort to gather information about winds and currents in Massachusetts Bay to correlate with sea turtle strandings.