Guro Kvåle Fredriksen was the lucky one who found this little wooden boat along the beach by Sør-Rekvik on Arnøya. Her family has been connected to this place for decades: Her grandmother grew up there, and they have a cabin in the same spot, with a fantastic view of the ocean. When she found the wooden boat, she saw the burn mark on it, leading her to report the find. This is how we at the Nansen Center learned about the first boat from the Float Your Boat project having been found after drifting on sea ice and in the ocean since August 2020!

This particular boat was decorated by a school child in Seattle in 2020, along with around 200 others. The same year, school children from the Norwegian municipality Gjesdal got to decorate also around 200 boats themselves. Those boats from the US and Norway were loaded onboard the Norwegian Coast Guard ship KV Svalbard which set out to explore the Arctic Ocean north of Svalbard with scientists from the CAATEX and Float Your Boat projects onboard. Both projects are led by the Nansen Center. The scientists placed the 400 boats out on the sea ice at around 84°N, some 400 kilometers to the north of Svalbard.

The boats were accompanied by ice buoys that send its position, air temperature, and air pressure data via satellites on a regular basis so that our researchers can track the buoys and see what conditions they are exposed to. You can see the buoy tracks for yourself on the project website. The sea ice drifts on the ocean, driven by winds and ocean currents, so the route the buoys and boats have been taken since 2020 is not a straight line at all, but a lot of back and forth, and at some point, the ice they sat on melted, and they have been drifting on the ocean surface since.

Towards the end of 2020, CAATEX scientists planned another cruise to the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska and Canada, and they took more nicely decorated boats and ice buoys with them to set out there, decorated by school children from Bømlo Municipality. And in 2021, school children visiting VilVite got to decorate even more boats (Bergensavisen and reported on this), and those were set out directly at the North Pole in September 2021, supported by the INTAROS project led by the Nansen Center.

Kjetil Lygre, Float Your Boat project leader and researcher at the Nansen Center, hopes that more and more boats will show up along Norwegian shores and reported so that we know where they ended up. Other places where our wooden boats could be found in the next months and years are the coasts of Svalbard, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Great Britain, the USA, or Canada. We are curious to get more boat reports in the future! reported on this boat find in Norwegian, see their news story!