1st Voyage - Completed
September, 2018 - Kit delivered to Rye Jr High
In September of 2018, Educational Passages delivered the boat kit directly the school (their office is only an hour away). The students were told there would be a presentation, but didn’t know they were being given a boat to build!
Thank you to the Clipper Foundation for helping to fund this project.
February, 2019 - Preparations
By February 2019, the keel was filled.
March, 2020 - Progress
By March 2020 the boat preparations were moving along. They were planning to paint the bottom with anti-fouling paint, and had letters written to request launch assistance from the river Captains in Portsmouth and the Coast Guard.
They were looking to name their boat Riptide, but noticed that two recent miniboats had also been named that. They agreed to name their boat RYE RIPTIDES.
May, 2020 - Final (virtual) decorations
The students submitted their decorations virtually as pictures and scanned images. Since schools were happening virtually, this was the only way to finish up the boat and get it ready for launching!
They collected the images and had Educational Passages help to print, laminate, and epoxy them to the deck of the boat. By the end of June the Rye Riptides was ready for sailing!
Next up: Launching…
October 9, 2020 - Delivered to the crew of Sea Education Association for deployment
Students from the 5th grade class that built the boat (who are now 6th graders) joined the new class of 5th graders of Ms. Adams on a virtual connection with Cassie Stymiest, the Director of Educational Passages who helped to make final preparations before bringing the Rye Riptides to the docks in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Ms. Adams, the lead teacher for the boat at Rye Junior High, also came to the docks on Friday to add student messages and treasures inside the hatch. With safe social distancing protocols, the boat was prepped and taken aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer.
Pictured above are (from left to right) Captain Sean Bercaw, Scientist, Cassie Stymiest, Sheila Adams, and Kate Parrott
Thanks to Captain Sean Bercaw and the entire Sea Education Association as their class and crew have plans to launch the boats into the Gulf Stream during their program, which you can read more about (and watch the sendoff moment) via Facebook live here:
As mentioned in the video above, Captain Bercaw has been launching message-in-a-bottles for decades. Here’s a video about him and his efforts:
October 11, 2020 - Sea Education Association Crew
Now aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer, a SEA Education Association ship, Rye Riptides is heading to the Gulf Stream as part of class C-294, Atlantic Odyssey and Ocean Exploration. This is a program for gap year students and university undergraduates that will leave Woods Hole on October 11 for a nearly six-week passage to Key West Florida, where they arrive November 18.
On October 11, the S/V Corwith Cramer left port with its crew to study the “Atlantic Odyssey and Ocean Exploration”.
You can follow the cruise blog on the SEA Education Association Website here.
More about Class C-294 here:
October 25, 2020 - Launched into the Gulf Stream
Thanks to the crew of the S/V Corwith Cramer and the Sea Education Association, the Rye Riptides was launched alongside the Sojourner’s Truth into the Gulf Stream on October 25, 2020 at 15:37GMT. Here’s the launch video from Sea Education Association’s Dr. Schell:
August 2021 to January 2022 - GPS comes back online and recovered in Norway
After almost a year at sea traveling in the Gulf Stream, the RYE RIPTIDES miniboat GPS started reporting infrequently. It sent a couple reports quite far apart – on August 18 and again on September 30. A bit storm was occuring in the area of the miniboat at the time, and some of us wondered if it got sent up to Iceland.
Then, exactly 4 months later on January 30, 2022 the GPS reported 1,500 km away in NORWAY!
Zooming in on Satellite view, it appeared the boat landed in the islands of Smøla. It didn’t look like an island that would be walked, so we needed to try and make contact with someone in the area to possibly assist in recovering the boat.
We posted the following notice here on the website:
UNCREWED 6 foot long sailboat (MINIBOAT) ashore west of Smøla Island (63°23’25.6″N 7°47’30.5″E) after 463 days and 13,400+ km voyage drifting across the Atlantic Ocean. Please recover if possible to do so safely. This is an educational project built by students in Rye, New Hampshire, U.S.A. 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, but we would like to recover it and have it brought to a nearby school to connect students.
January 31, 2022
We reached out to Stensønes skole on Facebook, which is located nearby the landing site, but since they were on vacation were not able to help locally. They did, however, post on a community group with the above message! Special thanks to Marte for her kindness and generosity in helping us out. The post was as follows:
Hei, Stensønes skole fikk en henvendelse nettopp fra en dame i USA. De hadde sjøsatt en minibåt(“flaskepost”) i et skoleprosjekt. Nå, etter 462 dager til havs, har den havnet på en holme på vestsiden av Smøla. Den lille båten har gps-sender og informasjon til den som finner den. De håper noen finner den og tar den med til den nærmeste skolen så de kan få kontakt. De som sendte båten gikk da i 5. klasse. Noen som kan hjelpe til og kanskje finne båten?
Teksten under ligger på nettsiden deres:
“UNCREWED 6 foot long sailboat (MINIBOAT) ashore west of Smøla Island (63°23’25.6″N 7°47’30.5″E) after 463 days and 13,400+ km voyage drifting across the Atlantic Ocean. Please recover if possible to do so safely. This is an educational project built by students in Rye, New Hampshire, U.S.A. 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, but we would like to recover it and have it brought to a nearby school to connect students”. Lenke til nettside med kart: https://educationalpassages.org/boats/rye-riptides/
February 1, 2022
The story was picked up by KSU.NO and an article written by Steinar Melby was published on February 1.
Also on February 1, Mariann Nuncic commented on the thread with the following message:
“Heisann, så gøy. Karel i 6.klasse er nærmeste nabo og den øya er rett utenfor huset vårt! Vi skal dra ut å sjekke når han kommer hjem fra skolen i dag, så kan han ta med tilbake på skolen”
And so that afternoon, after Karel was out of school, Mariann and her husband Alexander, along with Karel and their puppy Morgan, went to the nearby island by boat.
Here is Karel on the way there:
And Karel exploring the island to find the boat:
They found it!
They didn’t travel very far from home to find the boat, as Mariann said, “It was right in our backyard. Here Karel is standing next to our house.” You can see the circle where the boat was found nearby. They would never have know that the boat was there without the Facebook message from earlier.
They cleaned the Gooseneck Barnacles off the boat (these creatures tend to grow on items that drift across the sea), and will bring the vessel (or what is left of it) to Karel’s school tomorrow. There, they will open the hatch and see the messages inside from the students back in Rye.
Here is a nice video about Smøla that was shared to us: https://fb.watch/aV7fRZBjSg/
Even later that afternoon, the news had already updated the story!
February 2, 2022
Karel brought the boat to his school, Smøla barneskole. Together, the students opened the hatch and discovered messages and trinkets inside! Next they will write a letter back to the school in Rye.
The national news was there during the opening. Thanks to NRK.TV for covering the story! Click here to watch: https://tv.nrk.no/se?v=DKMR98020222&t=657s
February 9-10, 2022
Ms. Adams visited the school, accompanied by Educational Passages’ Director Ms. Stymiest. There they presented to the 6th and 7th graders about the project and where the boat landed. The Portsmouth Herald, a local newspaper, came on the 10th and interviewed some of the students. Shown in the picture to the right, these students have volunteered to be ambassadors for the project, helping to share the story and make more connections. Well done!
An article was published the following Monday, on February 14 by Ian Lenahan and was on the front page of the Portsmouth Herald, ‘Magical’: Norway 6th-grader finds Rye students’ mini boat launched in 2020.
It was picked up by the Associated Press that afternoon, and shared nationally. Current event: Boat launched by US students lands in Norway
Here are some channels that shared it:
- WABI TV5
- News Center Maine
- 7News WHDH Boston
- WINY Radio
- WGME CBS 13 Portland
- Bangor Daily News
- WGXA.tv (Georgia)
- NBC Montana
Ms. Adams shared the story later that day on CBC Canada’s As It Happens with Carol Off, Chris Howden. A follow-up story was also shared with more to the story and pictures, This U.S. science class launched a sailboat. It landed in Norway 15 months later
CNN shared an article on February 15 about the project, written by Sara Smart, Middle schoolers launched a boat from New Hampshire in 2020. It was found in Norway 462 days later
And Jeremy Roth produced this video snapshot which was posted on ABC7NY:
Later that evening, the story was shared on the local TV station, WMUR, Mini boat launched by Rye students found in Norway after 462-day voyage
The next day, February 16, NPR highlighted the story on the Morning Edition and Rachel Treisman wrote an in depth follow up piece later that afternoon, A Norwegian student found a boat launched by New Hampshire middle-schoolers in 2020.
And USA Today picked up the Portsmouth Herald’s story by Ian Lenahan as well, New Hampshire students launched a boat in 2020. It was found last month 8,000 miles away in Norway
In Norway, an article was published on VG by Stella Bugge, Ble sjøsatt i USA – 462 dager senere ble den funnet i Norge (Launched in the USA – 462 days later it was found in Norway)
The adventure continued on February 17 as students in New Hampshire and Norway met over Zoom!
There were wonderful greetings from each school’s principals, lovely presentations from the students, and discussion that followed. This is definitely the start of a long friendship!
After the connection, some of the ambassador students were interviewed by NBC10’s Katherine Underwood and the report was aired later that evening, Mini Boat Launched in 2020 by NH Students Found in Norway.
“I think it was really cool, because now, our little fifth-grade project that meant so much to us, now it means a lot to everyone else,” said seventh grader Molly Flynn. “It’s just like, this little boat has changed our lives so much.”
Another local station, this one in Portland, Maine, interviewed Educational Passages’ Executive Director about the project and talked more about ocean connects. New Hampshire school project washes up on Norway shore
Later that day on February 17, we found out that the story had made the CNN10, which is Today’s news in 10 minutes! This program is one that the students at Rye Jr High have been asking to be on for YEARS. At the end of each segment they do a shoutout to a school. Well, this time the STUDENTS WERE THE STORY! Their website says, “CNN 10 serves a growing audience interested in compact on-demand news broadcasts ideal for explanation seekers on the go or in the classroom. The show’s priority is to identify stories of international significance and then clearly describe why they’re making news, who is affected, and how the events fit into a complex, international society.” Thanks, Carl Azuz and CNN10 for the incredible shoutout!
ABC News Radio shared the story on their podcast, Perspective beginning around 32:46.
The Good News Network published a story by Andy Corbley on February 18, Surviving 8,000-Mile Journey, Girl Finally Finds 6-Foot Boat Launched By Students (it should be noted that Karel is the boy that found the boat)
The story reached Ireland by February 21 when Cassie interviewed with Tom Dunne on the Moncrieff Newstalk Radio. You can listen to the segment here: THE BOAT THAT TRAVELLED 1000S OF MILES WITH NO CREW.
The popular media source UPWORTHY shared an article and post on February 22, saying, “This is pretty much the coolest school project ever.” Thanks Heather Wake for sharing the story! A small boat made by middle schoolers sailed across the ocean all the way to Norway
Smithsonian Magazine published an article by Margaret Osborne on February 23, After 462 Days At Sea, a Mini Boat Launched by New Hampshire Middle School Students Washed Ashore in Norway
The Week, Feb. 25th issue also published an excerpt of the story.
We heard a nice shoutout on The Geologic Podcast Episode #753 as part of the Tell Me Something Good segment on February 25.
CBS News published the story, New Hampshire kids’ mini boat found in Norway on March 11 thanks to Caitlin O’Kane with The Uplift! Here’s the video they produced:
On March 14, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt aired the story in their segment, Inspiring America. Lester Holt himself introduced the project as “the voyage that’s inspiring America”. The segment is titled Norway student finds boat launched by New Hampshire middle schoolers and was produced by Savannah Sellers. Here’s the story from the broadcast:
On April 13, NH Chronicle aired their piece called “The Rye Riptides Project: A school project that went international,” which was filmed at the Seacoast Science Center and Rye Junior High School. Special thanks to Jean Mackin and the entire crew at WMUR for sharing the story, and extra kudos to the creativity that went into telling the story in sea shanty fashion!
Rye, NH classroom connects with Norway school in unique way
RYE, NH. A 5.5 foot long uncrewed sailboat (miniboat) built in 2020 by students at Rye Junior High in New Hampshire, was recovered in Smøla, near Dyrnes, Norway on February 1, 2022. After 462 days and 13,412 km of traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, the deck and cargo hold were the only remaining pieces of the boat, but the messages inside have sparked a new friendship between schools.
Educational Passages, a nonprofit organization based in Maine, whose mission is to connect students around the world to the ocean and each other, has been working with Rye Junior High School (rjh.sau50.org) since 2018 on this project. The boat, which arrived as a kit (educationalpassages.org/start), was built by the students in Ms. Sheila Adams’ science class as a way to learn about ocean currents, science, and math. “This project tapped into so much more than the science curriculum,” Ms. Adams said, and continued, “The students needed to use their writing skills to inform others about their miniboat project, describe our school and town to people of other languages, just in case, and write requests to get the boat deployed. The students were getting excited seeing it all come together and were about to decorate the boat when COVID sent the students home for the rest of the school year, but they continued to collaborate and see the project through.”
While students were learning virtually in May 2020, Ms. Adams worked with the director of Educational Passages, Ms. Cassie Stymiest, to decorate the boat in a safe and inclusive way. Ms. Adams asked all the students to submit a piece of artwork for the deck of the boat. Each student sent in a piece of artwork that was scanned, printed out, and adhered as a collage on the deck. The boat was ready to sail before the school year ended. “Over the summer, we worked together to try and find a deployer for the vessel that could take the boat out to sea beyond the Gulf of Maine, but found it challenging with all of the restrictions in place,” Ms. Stymiest said. “So we waited until fall and introduced the new 5th grade class to the project virtually. Since they hadn’t built the boat, we found ways to connect them by asking them what color to paint the bottom, and what messages to add to the cargo hold. We also talked about ocean currents and where the boat might travel. I felt connected to the project as well because the students were so welcoming, and I was glad to connect them with Sea Education Association to launch their adventure into the ocean,” Ms Stymiest also said.
The Sea Education Association (SEA) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts volunteered to launch the boat alongside another miniboat called Sojourner’s Truth from JFK Middle School in Northampton, Massachusetts. They took the miniboats aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer, which launched the boats on October 25, 2020 as part of the C-294 cruise, “Atlantic Odyssey and Ocean Exploration.” Captain Sean Bercaw and Chief Scientist Dr. Jeffrey Schell facilitated conversations between the crew and the students over email during the six-week voyage to Florida.
Dr. Schell, after hearing the news about the recovery in Norway, said, “My students really appreciated sending messages back to students onshore and building a connection. Any human connection after all the COVID isolation of the previous year was welcome! I remember October 25th well, we sailed across the Gulf Stream tracking the current magnitude as we went. Once we found the fastest part we sailed back to the chosen spot for launch (about 4 knots of current pointing due east) and gathered everyone to the quarterdeck for the big event. When Rye Riptides and Sojourner’s Truth hit the water there was a raucous cheer from the crew as both mini-boats caught the wind immediately and certainly appeared to be sailing faster than we were onboard the Corwith Cramer.”
After 10 months at sea, the GPS (Global Positioning System) on the Rye Riptides miniboat began reporting intermittently during hurricane season and then not again until September 30, 2021. On January 30, 2022, however, it reported once more from a small uninhabited island in Smøla, near Dyrnes, Norway. Thanks to connections made on social media, the boat was recovered by the Nuncic family who lived nearby.
The boat had been dismasted, and the hull and keel were no longer attached. The majority of the deck, with the cargo hold embedded, was intact and sealed. After cleaning off barnacles that had grown on the boat during its voyage, the family brought the boat home. Karel, who is also in grade 6, brought the boat to his school, Smøla barneskole, the next day. There the students opened the cargo hatch and found the messages and trinkets that the students in the US had added nearly two years before. The moment was captured and shared on the national news in Norway.
“What I find so special about Educational Passages is that it combines education with the mystery of a message in a bottle and the hope of making a human connection across the sea,” said Dr. Schell after hearing the news of the miniboat’s recovery in Norway. He continued, “It is a powerful and effective model and certainly grabbed the attention of my students. Even when our voyage ended in Key West the crew all stayed in touch and periodically shared news of the whereabouts of ‘our boats’. The connection had been made and we now cared about the fate of these mini-boats. So, it really is such great news to learn that Rye Riptides has safely returned to shore, though a bit battered, but its mission an undeniable success.”
Educational Passages and Rye Jr High School are now planning video connections with the school in Norway, and plan to continue building this new relationship to learn from each other and about the shared Atlantic Ocean between them.
“This was a great project and opportunity for our students. It’s amazing to see all their work and the work of Ms. Adams come to fruitiation in a way that connects us with students across the world. We are fortunate to have these opportunities for authentic learning,” said Ms. Marie Soucy, Rye Junior High School’s Principal.
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 161 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.
Please consider supporting our program. Together we can continue to inspire students, support educators, and connect communities.
You are also invited to become a part of the crew with apparel for RJH’s miniboat! The design includes the path of the voyage, the webpage link, statistics and the school’s logo. With each purchase, a small portion will go right back into the Educational Passages program to continue these connections. To order, visit our page on the Bonfire platform through April 4.
Thank you to the Clipper Foundation for helping to fund this particular boat!
Rye Junior High, 2019-2020
Smøla, Norway, January 2022
Smøla barneskole (School)
VOYAGE FACTS AND STATS FOR MINIBOAT RYE RIPTIDES
- Was at sea for 462 days.
- Was launched by SEA Semester’s SSV Corwith Cramer on October 25, 2020 into the Gulf Stream.
- Reported the last few GPS reports on September 30, and August 18.
- Landed in Dyrnes, Norway on January 30, 2022.
- Landed 1,457 km from its last GPS report on September 30.
- Traveled a total distance of at least 13,413 km (7,243 nm).
- Sailed at an average speed of 1.17 kts.