A Norwegian student found a boat launched by New Hampshire middle-schoolers in 2020

A picture of a sea boat, somewhat similar to the one sent by Rye Junior High.


A picture of a sea boat, somewhat similar to the one sent by Rye Junior High.

With the continuous destruction of interaction due to the pandemic, connecting has become more challenging than ever. But one school, with the help of an organization, managed to find the perfect solution to the interconnection between students across the world. 


In October 2020, a New Hampshire middle school launched a 5.5-foot mini boat. Rye Junior High’s science project from Massachusetts was built with the non-profit organization Educational Passages – an organization with the goal of connecting students globally. This project was planned in 2018, and the materials were provided to the students in 2020. Of course, with the start of COVID-19, the construction and launch were difficult to go through. Since the beginning of the pandemic, students learned remotely – so science teacher Sheila Adams had a plan. Each student submitted their art where it could be scanned and printed to assemble as a collage on the deck of the mini boat. Rye Riptides – the extensively detailed mini boat from Rye Junior High – was shipped to the Sea Education Association Crew located in Massachusetts, not too far from Rye Junior High. From there, it was taken aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer to then travel to Florida for departure. The two vessels were then launched into the Gulf Stream on October 25th, 2020. 


Attached with a GPS, the device would randomly alert the status system of its location from time to time – the organization called these pings. While learning online, Rye Junior High students kept checking for status reports. A ping was received once on August 18, 2021, and once more on September 30, 2021. The mini boat reported intermittently until the end of January; but thanks to a social media connection, a family recovered the boat from an inhabited Norwegian island. On January 30th, the ping came from an island in Smøla, near Dyrnes, Norway, but they had one problem – the island appeared to be inhabited, meaning no one knew it had arrived on the island. The Educational Passages website decided to post an update, expressing the need for assistance in recovering the boat. This message made its way onto local news and was even noticed by a nearby Norwegian Community Facebook page. The news traveled to Norwegian 6th grader Karel Nuncic and his parents, then decided to take action: the family and their puppy took a boat out to the island and retrieved what was left of Rye Riptides. Although the mini boat went through thick and thin of the untamed ocean, the majority of the deck had remained intact and sealed. The very next day, Nuncic brought the American mini boat to school, where the middle school students opened the cargo to reveal the gifts and letters that the student of Rye Junior High had deposited nearly two years earlier. 


This special connection made headlines, emphasizing the friendships made between students halfway across the globe from each other. The two schools even arranged for a virtual meeting online and letters written by the Norwegian student to be sent to their new-found friends thousands of miles away.