Lancer model boat story draws children to the sea

True transatlantic friendships were formed when primary school student Méabh Ní Ghionnáin from Galway and secondary school student Kaitlyn Dow from Connecticut, USA meet for the first time at the Marine Institute, in Galway, during the hand-over of their unmanned one and half metre Lancer sailboat, that had originally landed in Galway Bay late last year from the States, and will be relaunched from the RV Celtic Explorer in the Atlantic Ocean later this year for its next voyage.
Photo:Andrew Downes

True transatlantic friendships were formed when primary school student Méabh Ní Ghionnáin from Galway and secondary school student Kaitlyn Dow from Connecticut, USA meet for the first time at the Marine Institute, in Galway, during the hand-over of their unmanned one and half metre Lancer sailboat, that had originally landed in Galway Bay late last year from the States, and will be relaunched from the RV Celtic Explorer in the Atlantic Ocean later this year for its next voyage. Photo:Andrew Downes

This week, Foras na Mara (The Marine Institute ) Galway, invited a large group of Sea Scouts from Gasoga Mara na Gaeltachta, Lettermore to Grattan Beach. The ‘Explore the shore’ event was designed as part of a series of celebrations around the discovery of the Lancer model boat by local schoolgirl, eight-year-old Méabh Ní Ghionnáin.

The idea and background of this event came from the journey of the Lancer model boat that crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Waterford CT High School (WHS ) High School in Connecticut, America and was found washed up in Lettermore.

This group of sea scouts had helped work on repairing the Lancer model boat, so it can continue its journey back across the Atlantic in the next few weeks and the ‘Explore the shore’ event was a celebration of this upcoming event.

The Explorers Education Programme™ was contacted by Ciaran Oliver, who wanted to celebrate and promote the multifaceted story of the boat’s journey, discovery, development of ocean literacy; its connections between Ireland and America and explore how they might celebrate this story. The planning for the day culminated in the day out for the Sea Scouts, as well as invitations to the Marine Institute and a tour of the RV Celtic Explorer.

Explorers Education Programme™ with the help of aquarists from Galway Atlantaquaria brought the Sea Scouts onto Grattan Beach where they completed a number of Beach Cleans and completed a seashore ecology workshop. The group also enjoyed a tour of the Aquarium at the end of the event.

The Explorers Education Programme™ were particularly delighted to enable the Sea Scouts discovery of the sea life on the shore of Grattan beach and develop a number of Ocean literacy themes during the day.

“Dr Noirin Burke told the scouts that, by visiting the local shore, and learning about the value of the ocean, we can show that there is something for everyone to enjoy there. We were delighted to take part in some seashore discovery and a two-min beach clean with Meadbh and her follow scouts,” said a spokesperson for Galway Atlantaquaria.

“The Explorers Education Programme™ and Marine Institute are delighted to support this initiative that encompasses a whole range of Ocean Literacy, education and ocean values. We look forward to reporting on continuing journey of the #Lancer as it will once again journey across the Atlantic.”

For more information about the Explorers Education Programme™ and Lancer please see www.marineinstitute.ie

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