This past October, I had an amazing notification pop up in my email letting me know that I had a new comment on my 2015 US Arctic GEOTRACES expedition page. It pertained to a neat citizen science project we were supporting called Float Your Boat – click here for a synopsis: https://www.polartrec.com/expeditions/us-arctic-geotraces/journals/2015-...
It was particularly gratifying to get the message over 3 years after my expedition ended! Check it out:
Message left on my PolarTREC journal by Bolli Thor of Iceland letting us know he found one of the Float Your Boats we deployed near the North Pole.
The finder, Bolli Thor of Iceland, noticed the project's logo was still legible on the little boat he found. He then tracked down my journal in a Google search since it mentioned Float Your Boat. I quickly notified our chief scientist Bill Landing at Florida State University, and he spread the amazing news to other members of the expedition who began scrambling to locate Bolli and to do some forensic work to figure out which one of the 1000+ wooden boats deployed in the ice was found. It didn't take long for Bill to find Bolli on Facebook and make contact. Bolli let us know exactly where in Iceland he found the boat and provided close-up photos of the wooden craft. From these photos Tim Kenna, research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, was able to compare the brand position, wood grain pattern, and faint traces of decoration to figure out that the boat was in Box 1 (of 6 we deployed.) He even found the boat's decorator (then in middle school and now a high schooler) and let her know the amazing news! Checking my field journal, I could confirm that we dropped this off in the Arctic ice pack on our way back from the North Pole on 12 Sept. 2015, at approx. 86.70 N, 149.48 W.
A USCGC Healy crewman deploying Float Your Boat boxes 1 & 2 along with a drift buoy to track the ice (and presumably, the boxes') movement.
Our last look at Float Your Boat boxes 1 & 2- little did we know that a boat in box 1 would be found in Iceland over three years later!
A great synopsis of what we learned from this tiny boat's long journey in the ice and polar seas from the North Pole to Iceland via the Transpolar Drift can be found here: http://www.geotraces.org/news-50/news/116-news/1588-float-your-boat
Click through for maps, before and after pics of the boat, and even Bolli Thor's smiling face after he found the boat.
Thanks to Dave Forcucci (US Coast Guard Marine Science Coordinator) for putting Float Your Boat together, Bill Landing and Tim Kenna for their detective work, and especially to Bolli Thor for finding the boat and reaching out to us!