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 member National University of Ireland Galway is working with the Lackagh National School to assemble their miniboat, Spiorad na Gaillimhe (Spirit of Galway) from Galway, Ireland. Explore below the story and join the journey with us.

  • May 2022: Miniboat Preparations

  • September 2022 - Ready for launch

    Plans are to launch the miniboat from the R/V Polarstern in September. You can follow the expedition of the NoSoAt cruise here.

    Follow the R/V POLARSTERN
  • September 21, 2022 - Launched!

    Electronics were tested and “systems go” received by Educational Passages on the morning of September 21.

    On September 21 at 15:25 UTC, the miniboat Spiorad na Gaillimhe (Spirit of Galway) was successfully launched into the Atlantic Ocean! This miniboat launch is also the first to occur in the South Atlantic Basin. 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 Spiorad na Gaillimhe (Spirit of Galway) will be one month from launch.

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

    Read more about the project from the Connacht Tribune: Lackagh students’ mini-boat sets sail in the South Atlantic and have a listen on the radio at Galway Bay FM and RTE Radio 1 with Mooney Goes Wild (starting at 16:57). Great job, Bláithín McGrath (student), and Sheena Fennell (Senior Oceanography Technician at the University of Galway)!

  • 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 and may include points from when it was aboard the R/V Polarstern and not out at sea. If you are interested in looking at the data in a different format from the whole voyage, contact us.

    October 19 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.

  • October 25, 2022 - Landed in Cotê d'Ivoire

    Spiorad na Gaillimhe (Spirit of Galway) landed on the shores of Cotê d’Ivoire on October 25, 2022 at 00:41 GMT after 28 days at sea and traveling over 2,083km. It landed on a beach in Port-Gauthie, just west of Abidjan. Colleagues of POGO partners were contacted and will assist with recovery.

    We invite you to read above for the full story, and please contact Educational Passages for more information.

    It is an uncrewed vessel, like a message in a bottle.

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.