1st Voyage

  • May 2021: Preparations by the Kilglass National School 5th and 6th class

    Here’s a short clip of 5th and 6th class from Kilglass National School in Co Galway busy getting their 1.5 metre unmanned mini sailboat called ‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ ready for deployment during the AIMSIR survey from the R/V Celtic Explorer:

    Here are some pictures from Mr. Kane of the students working to prepare their miniboat. The Artwork includes:

    • References to Ocean Literacy and the Ocean Principles
    • Favourite symbols of Irish culture and sport including a Harp and Hurley
    •  A drawing of a famous Galway fishing boat ‘The Galway Hooker’
    • A sports themed Skull and Crossbones’ themed flag
    • An ancient Irish Ogham message ‘Good Luck’
    • Pupils’ favourite Irish animals and fish species
    • Our chosen boat name ‘Seoltóir na Gaillimhe’
    • Painted Logos of the Marine organisations linked to the project: iFADO, Marine Institute and Explorers Education Programme
    • Lines from John Keats famous nautical poem and a class favourite ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and an Albatross painted on sail for good luck!
    • Our school and County crest and colours and the Irish flag
    • Some fun nautical images

  • June 1, 2021: Delivered to the R/V Celtic Explorer

    Students from the 5th and 6th class of Kilglass National School in Co Galway delivered their miniboat, named Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor to the Marine Institute’s research vessel, R/V Celtic Explorer on Monday, May 31.

    Read the full press release, “Unmanned miniature Sail boat ‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ to be deployed from the RV Celtic Explorer” here.

    They have been preparing the boat for this voyage for the last couple of weeks, decorating it and filling the cargo space with messages and gifts, all while learning about the ocean and exploring their connections to it. The boat was funded as part of the EU Interreg iFADO project.

    31/05/2021repro free: Peter Kane, teacher with Padraic Creedon of the Explorers Education Programme, Christine Loughlin, Marine Institute and Kieran Reilly, Marine Institute with 6th class students (from the same pod) Rosie Dolan, Olivia Cotton, Ruby Glynn, Naomi Faulkner, Sophie Kelly from Kilglass National School in Co Galway delivered their 1.5 metre unmanned mini sailboat called ‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ to the Marine Institute’s research vessel, RV Celtic Explorer, in Galway Harbour. Marine Institute scientists will deploy the mini-boat from the RV Celtic Explorer into the Atlantic Ocean, near the M6 Weather Buoy, during the Atlantic In-situ Marine Scientific Infrastructure Replacement survey.
    Photo: Andrew Downes xposure
  • June 2, 2021 - Launched!

    At 9:00 UTC on June 2, 2021, the R/V Celtic Explorer launched the miniboat Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe (Galway Sailor). The GPS sent its first official report at 14:59 GMT and is set to report every 6 hours.

    @Cloughlinvt tweeted a pic of the miniboat launch with the M6 buoy in the background shortly after the launch:

    And when the crew returned back, Kieran Reilly sent these awesome deployment pics:

    June 3, 2021 Update

  • June 14, 2021 - GPS stopped reporting

    The GPS stopped reporting on June 14 after only two weeks at sea.

  • July 18, 2021 - Landed and recovered in Norway

    We received a call on July 18 from Lars Bjørnsen who said that his neighbors found an Educational Passages’ miniboat on a beach in Norway. After the boat was described, it was confirmed that in fact the boat they found was the Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe (Galway Sailor)! After the GPS stopped reporting on June 14 after only two weeks at sea, we had no idea if we would ever hear from it again because the ocean is so vast. In fact, this spot is 1,158 km away from the last GPS report.

    An email with pictures and this message to the Kilglass National School later followed:

    “Today, July 18 2021, we found your miniboat stranded on the Bunes Beach above the Arctic Circle in the Lofoten Islands. My three girls were excited to open the hatch and see the content. Unfortunately, all the drawings and letters were wet, but we were able to read some of it. Thanks for the candy and the other stuff.”

    Lars also made arrangements to have the boat transported by a fisherman Harald Berge to Mausund in Norway.

    Thank you, Lars and Family, and Welcome on board!

    Total voyage distance traveled: 2,545 km in 46 days.

    Read the full press release, “A Summer Mini-Miracle! ‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ mini sail boat found washed up in Norway

    How did the miniboat get to Norway? We asked the team at the Marine Institute to help, and the ocean modelers and mapping team have since provided a map showing the likely journey of the ‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’  after it lost its GPS tracking signal.  Knowing the last coordinates as well as where the boat was found, the team were able to produce a map showing the boats likely movement based on the currents and wind direction at the time.  It was estimate that the boat travelled over 3,000km from when it was deployed in the Atlantic.

    On September 2, Mr. Kane received an email from Nina Mathissen, Headmaster of Mausund oppvekstsenter (school and kindergarten) with the following note: 

    “I am the headmaster of Mausund oppvekstsenter (school and kindergarden) , located on a small island in the middle of Norway. It is quite far from where the mini-boat was found… Our school finds the project very interesting and we are looking forward to getting the boat here and be working with the project. Mausund is a a small island with 190 inhabitants. Our school has 10 pupils this year, from 1st to 10th grade. The kindergarden is located in the same building. There are a lot of fishermen here and some also work on fishing farms (mainly salmon). We are really looking forward to hearing from you again and I hope we will get the boat here as soon as possible. In meanwhile, look at the lovely photos from Mausund I have added.”

    May 23, 2022Kilglass National School receives the European Blue Schools Award – Find the Blue Challenge 

    Kilglass National School received the certification of European Blue School with the project ‘The Galway Sailor’ for the school year (2020/2021). The Network of European Blue Schools is part of the EU4Ocean Coalition of Ocean Literacy, an initiative funded by the European Commission, DG MARE, which connects diverse organisations, projects and people contributing to ocean literacy and the sustainable management of the ocean. For more information see Network of European Blue Schools.

    The award was presented at the Marine Institute headquarters in Galway by Dr Paul Connolly, CEO (pictured above, left), to Peter Kane (pictured above, right) who led the project at Kilglass National School. Read the full article here.