1st Voyage

The Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) and the Alfred-Wegener Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI) are partnering with Educational Passages to bring their Miniboat Programme to schools and communities around the world. This project will connect and unite people around ocean science.

The 2022 shipboard outreach initiative during the North-South Atlantic training Transect’ (NoSoAT) – from Germany to South Africa – will include four ‘miniboats’ from schools and oceanographic partner institutions in Ireland, Germany, Spain, and South Africa. The miniboats will be deployed in the Atlantic Ocean, allowing the school students to track the progress of their own vessel, and that of the others involved in the project, and learn about ocean currents, weather, technology, etc.

Three of the miniboats will be deployed by the R/V Polarstern along the Atlantic transect and one will be deployed by the R/V Algoa, along the SAMBA transect (Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment – Oceans & Coasts Research, South Africa).

In the preparatory phase, the schools and partner institutions will prepare their boats and learn about the NoSoAT initiative, a programme endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. They will install sensor packages on their boats, place messages inside for the finder, and coordinate transport for the finished vessels to board the research cruises.

During the ‘live’ phase of the project, in September, all four miniboats will be deployed, and live calls between the schools and the NoSoAT cruise will be held. All the participants will be able to share the stories and track the boats together on this publicly-available webpage.

POGO partner Alfred Wegener Institute Hemholz Centre for Polar and Marine Research is working with a small group to assemble their miniboat, Schnelle welle (Fast wave) from Helgoland, Germany. Explore below the story and join the journey with us.

  • August 2022 - Miniboat Preparations in Helgoland

    Preparations began in August during a week long holiday workshop at AWI in Helgoland.

    August 17, 2022:

    August 18, 2022:

    Today work began on the sensors, and the boat was named! Welcome to the POGO fleet, Schnelle Welle!

    August 19, 2022

    The sensors were installed on the last day of the holiday program. Arrangements were then made to get the boat to the R/V Polarstern.

    August 23, 2022:

  • Click here to access sensor data

    This boat was launched with two GPS systems onboard. The location reports from both units are showing 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 is showing only the last 7 days of data. If you are interested in looking at the data in a different format from the whole voyage, contact us.

    September 16 Update: The sensor pack stopped reporting data today and we are actively looking into why this may have occurred. The main GPS continues to report, though, and those tracks will be shown on the map at the top of this page.

  • September 10, 2022 - Launched!

    Electronics were tested on September 8 and “systems go” received by Educational Passages on September 8.

    On September 10 at 16:21 UTC, the miniboat Schnelle welle was successfully launched into the Atlantic! Read more here.

    You can follow the R/V Polarstern and expedition of the NoSoAt cruise here.

    Follow the R/V POLARSTERN

    Follow along and join the journey!

    We challenge you to check the wind and current forecasts and tell us where YOU think Schnelle Welle will be one month from launch.

    Add your predictions via this google form (click here). 

  • December 4, 2022 - Landed in Guyana

    Seeking assistance with recovering miniboat Schnelle Welle (Fast Wave) from Barima-Waini, Guyana

    We are an international group of scientists and ocean lovers who organised a project to study ocean science and provide cultural exchange between children from very different parts of the world.

    Like a “message in a bottle”, a very small uncrewed sailing boat, of about 1.5 m in length, was built by children in a German island called Helgoland, in the North Sea. They assembled, decorated, and baptized her Schnelle Welle (in English Fast Wave). They hoped that she would travel the ocean and reach children in another land.

    The miniboat was launched in the Atlantic Ocean on 10 September, from 22o 26.1 N 20o 35.5 W (between the archipelagos of Canary Islands and Cape Verde). She travelled 5,673.39 km by winds and currents, and landed on the shores of Barima-Waini, Guyana, on 4 December (coordinates 8.1128702163696 °N, 59.253634214401 °W).

    We are seeking help from your organisations to have her brought to a nearby school. The Helgoland children would also like to see any pictures and videos that are possible so they can learn more about where their boat landed, and so the story can continue on the boat’s webpage: https://educationalpassages.org/boats/schnellewelle/. Please visit this website to learn more about the project and story so far. See pictures attached for reference – it is approximately 1.5m long and 20kg.

    Unfortunately, we are all non-profit organisations and cannot provide a financial reward for your help. Our intention is to connect children everywhere and promote the love for the ocean. We hope you can help Schnelle Welle accomplish this goal, and bring the opportunity to connect children of Guyana with the project.

    Contact Educational Passages for more information.

  • March 2023 - Schnelle Welle recovered in Mabaruma, Guyana

    After the Schnelle Welle landed on Shell Beach in Guyana on December 4, 2022, we reached out to organizations and social media to try and get the boat recovered. Here is the flyer we shared:

    We were unsuccessful… until March!

    Another miniboat educator in Rhode Island (who is the Captain of BHS Roweboat and BHS Rowe RIda), Greg Rowe, noticed that Schnelle Welle had landed in Guyana and saw the flyer on March 6. He immediately reached out to Cassie Stymiest at Educational Passages because it turns out that his wife, Jill Rowe, had just returned from a work trip to Guyana. Jill works for RPS, which is the organization behind our Path Analysis Tool and a great partner. What are the chances of that? Cassie and Jill texted and emailed from there, and less than 24 hours later the miniboat had been FOUND!

    Jill had reached out to her colleagues in Mabaruma, whom she had just been spending time with during her visit, and they took quick action. We are so appreciative of everyone’s support, and want to thank each of them here:


    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Lica (@lica_ocean)

    Next, we will connect students in Guyana and Germany for them to meet and learn about the POGO-NF fleet, but also the work that POGO is doing to study the ocean and promote ocean literacy.

This is one of 4 miniboats in the NF-POGO 2022 Miniboat Fleet. The initiative is funded by The Nippon Foundation and Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) with support from the Alfred-Wegener Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI).

The NF-POGO Miniboats thanks all those involved for their contribution to the journey.