BY MARTIN WALSH
A MINI boat released in the north Atlantic last April that eventually ended up in secluded Barry’s Cove last July has led to new found friendships between the sixth class at Barryroe National School and sixth graders of Morristown Beard School in New Jersey in the USA.
The boat, which was equipped with a GPS tracker, was launched by the American students on April 23rd. It was part of the Educational Passages project, courtesy of an arrangement with the container ship, Independent Horizon.
Tragumna-based Rory Jackson, founder of the Ocean Plastic Project, was contacted by Cassie Stymiest of Educational Passages. He got in touch with local fisherman Bill McCarthy who, along with his daughter Katie, recovered the mini boat, Crimson Current, from Barry’s Cove on July 5th.
Last month, Rory and Bill brought the boat to Barryroe National School where the sixth class pupils were in awe of its contents.
Their teacher, Sinéad Walsh said it was a treasure trove of goodies. ‘Amongst the items were a baseball, an Abraham Lincoln coffee mug, a Morristown Beard baseball cap and a USA jersey.
‘However, the most valued contents were the wonderful letters written by the 35 sixth graders. Our class pored over them, learning about their American counterparts and their lives.’
A few weeks ago the pupils enjoyed a live Zoom call with their new US-based friends, from the boardroom of Barryroe Co-op. They even taught the American students a ‘cúpla focail’ and gave a rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann on tin whistles.
The Barryroe pupils are currently in the process of repainting the boat, designing a new sail and packing the boat with items representative of their lives in West Cork.
They will then bring the mini boat to Independent Horizon, the container ship at Cork Port, which will launch the mini boat into the Atlantic ocean.
A tracker will allow the pupils follow its progress whilst developing their knowledge of ocean weather patterns, currents, shipping and satellite tracking – and hopefully, find more friends somewhere else in the world.