Passages: EP News March 2020

Letter from the Director

Together we are facing challenges we have never seen before, and our hearts are with all those being affected by COVID-19. We must remain connected and support each other in order to get through this. While we all work to adapt and transition into new routines, we are seeing the true power of technology and virtual connection. This is how global partnerships flourish. When we cannot travel around the world and meet face to face, we utilize video conferencing and digital media. We build relationships this way so that when you finally get to meet in person, you are already connected. It provides hope and encouragement. I wanted to take a moment to share five feel-good stories with you to remind you of our ocean connections through Educational Passages. Whether you’re a teacher, student, mariner, fisherman, researcher, or ocean lover, we are all connected to the ocean and each other. Over the last decade, we have coordinated 223 deployments, explored the surface of 690,265 nautical miles of ocean, and connected thousands of people along the way. We hope that these stories will inspire you to connect with us. If you’re looking for some things to do at home or to integrate into your remote teaching, then check out “Track-a-boat,” “Miniboat Mapping,” or “Data Explorer” activities at There are many boats you can track, stories to explore, and people to meet. We are also available to video conference with your class, or connect you virtually – just reach out and we’ll be more than happy to help. We are all in this together.


Cassie Stymiest
Executive Director

The Great Lakes Are: Fautasi

Students at Stockbridge High School in Michigan entered two films into the Thunder Bay International Film Festival: “Great Lakes Are: Fautasi” and “Joining Forces to Protect the Ocean”. The second video is now in the top 10 High School Finalists category! 

Watch the video and read more: Fautasi

CRMM Miniboat Program Updates

“I was born and raised in Hiroshima. Your project reminds me of our tradition of making small, floating lanterns of paper to release on the river each summer as a prayer for peace. Just as you all did yesterday, when we set a boat to sail it often carries a blessing, a hope or a prayer.

I am a huge fan of this project because of the connections it creates between American and Japanese students. Even when you are going to bed at night, students on both sides of the Pacific can think and wonder, “Where is our boat now? Who is waiting for it to arrive??” Of course, with something like Skype you can see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices but a Miniboat is not just for a few minutes, it is something you can follow with excitement all year round.”

This sentiment comes from Consul Sato (pictured to the right with Journalism Team lead) during his visit to Columbia City Elementary School to see the work of the Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Miniboat Program first hand. And since that visit in November, the CRMM has launched SIX boats. Where are they now? Who is waiting for them to arrive? We wonder the same questions as Consul Sato. 

While two of the three launched off Japan stopped reporting their GPS positions (Kaeru Go Go and Kanehama Maru III), the Kizuna Gou crossed the International Dateline on February 14 – which means it is halfway across! 

In January, the very first CRMM Miniboat Program Summit was held at the museum where students from Wy’east Middle School, Warrenton Grade School, and Columbia City Elementary School brought their miniboats for a sendoff celebration. 

The Liberty was then launched off Oregon but the winds blew it back to shore where it was quickly recovered. In March, the Boat a Lahti and Philbert were set to sea thanks to the US Coast Guard. While Boat a Lahti stopped reporting its location after only 5 days at sea, Philbert has already traveled over 880 nautical miles – that’s the same as the width of Oregon 2.5 times! One more boat remains to be launched from the 2019-2020 fleet: The Goonies. It also seems that the Okuki GO GO, which has been at sea for nearly 500 days, is now starting to sail east. 

Read more: CRMM Miniboat Program | かえる GO GO!! (KAERU GO GO!!)  |  GO GO Kanehama Maru III  |  KIZUNA GOU  |  Liberty  |  Boat-a-Lahti  |  Philbert  |  Goonies |  GO! GO! 大久喜号 (GO! GO! Okuki Go)

Jackalope Relaunched After 2+ Years

The Jackalope, which was originally from Wyoming and was the first miniboat to sail the South Pacific, was relaunched off Pelau Island, Ontong Java Atoll, Solomon Islands after 2 years dry-docked thanks to local teacher George Kaola (shown in the picture to the right before it was set to sea) who repaired the vessel with his students after it landed there in 2017. She has been sailing for over two months but not north as we had expected…

Read more: Jackalope 

Atlantic Adventures

The very first miniboat from Rhode Island, the Midnight Moon, washed up in France in November while its sister ship that was launched a year after, the Jamestown Drifter, last reported December 13. The Rip Tide 2 (see picture in Letter from the Director article above with student builders of Morristown Beard School in New Jersey) was launched January 23, and the We Ha Cruiser (well, half of it) showed up in the Azores on January 18 after no reports for 297 days! Pictured below are the student builders from Smith STEM School in Connecticut with the We Ha Cruiser before it was set to sea.

We check every day for the intermittent reports of the Titanic from Maine and to see if the Crimson Fantasea (also from Morristown Beard School in New Jersey) will sail out of the Atlantic gyre (she’s been at sea for 735 days so far!). 

Repairs and connections continue as well: The Legendary and Crimson Voyager are connecting New Hampshire and New Jersey with Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal. The HVES Cruiser is connecting Charleston, SC with Cork, Ireland. The Spirit of Ashley Hall is connecting Charleston, SC with the Isles of Scilly, UK. The Sesismbra a Bordo is connecting Sesimbra, Portugal with Morocco. 

Read more: Midnight Moon | Jamestown Drifter | Rip Tide 2 | We Ha Cruiser | Titanic | Crimson FantaSEA | The Legendary | HVES Cruiser | Spirit of Ashley Hall | Crimson Voyager | Sesimbra a Bordo

Sailing the Indian Ocean

Still sailing in the Indian Ocean are High Hopes and Sacred Heart Star of the Sea. High Hopes appears to be sailing off Madagascar and Sacred Heart Star of the Sea (pictured right with student builders from Massachusetts) might be on its way to Australia! 

Read more: High Hopes | Sacred Heart Star of the Sea


“However bad the storm you are in, there is still sun somewhere over your horizon.”

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