CHECKING THE SLOPES – Ski companions Aaron Prussian, Emily Clark and Will Sirokman measure the snow depth and conditions on Mt. Verstovia Saturday. The friends have been tracking conditions this season, looking for weaknesses in the snowpack that could lead to avalanches. They saw signs of stable conditions, some hardpack and compacted layers, but no signs of weakness in that specific area. Dozens of skiers were on the mountain this weekend. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Blatchley Kids Say Bon Voyage to Ocean Boat

By ABIGAIL BLISS
Sentinel Staff Writer
    A miniature sailboat that washed up on Sitka shores in late February was put out to sea again today, with a boost from Blatchley Middle School students, on its journey from Oregon to Japan.
    The S/V Red, White, and Blue Crew is one of ten unmanned mini-boats built, launched, and monitored through a grant-funded program from the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon.

Nate Sandel, education director at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon, left, puts up a sail as Blatchley Middle School sixth-grade students hold the mini-boat Red, White, and Blue Crew this morning on the Petro Marine dock on Katlian Street. The entire sixth-grade class was heading out to St. Lazaria Island aboard an Allan Marine boat for a field trip. On the trip they planned to launch the sailboat, which is equipped with a satellite transmitter, into the open ocean. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)


    All of the ocean-going mini-sailboats were prepared from kits by students in Oregon, but only half of them were launched from the United States. Their destination is the Aomori prefecture of Japan, where three sister schools have partnered with the program. The other five boats were flown to Japan, and deployed from Japanese shores.
    As the boats sail from one side of the Pacific Ocean to the other, students in both countries will be able to learn about ocean currents, new territory, and cultures different from their own. The boats may contain letters from the students to their sister schools.
    The five-foot long fiberglass vessels, while equipped with a sail and a GPS tracking device that provides twice-daily updates on their location, are at the mercy of the wind and waves guiding them along the 4,500-mile journey.
    The S/V Red, White, and Blue Crew was built by a sixth-grade class at Otto Peterson Elementary School in Scappoose, Oregon, and was launched on December 6.
    On February 28, after 82 days at sea, the mini-boat made landfall on Legna Island, 16 miles southwest of Sitka.
    Charter fisherman Ben Johnson found it, and after reading the message affixed, reached out to science teachers in the Sitka schools.
    Blatchley science teacher Stacy Golden quickly responded.
    “I just jumped on the opportunity,” Golden said, who had no prior knowledge of the project. “I thought, ‘Oh, what a cool idea.’”
    Nate Sandel, education director of the sponsoring Columbia River Museum, flew up to Sitka to explain the project to Sitka students and help ready the mini boat for the next leg of its journey.
    The S/V Red, White, and Blue Crew has undergone both operational and aesthetic modifications during its stay in Sitka, Golden said.
    “They dried out the inside of the boat and did some patchwork on the keel,” she said.
    One half of the sail was decorated by students at Otto Petersen, she said, but Blatchley students took it upon themselves to embellish the other side.
    Two of Golden’s classes submitted designs, and voted on their favorites, she said. In the end, five students were chosen to realize their vision for the sail, and all signed their names.
    “It (is) amazing to launch the boat out and sign our names on the sail,” said sixth-grader Aubrey Larue. “When someone gets it, they’ll see our names.”
    Her classmate, Logan Shennett, marveled at the fact that the mini-boat washed ashore in Sitka.
    “It’s like a very low chance of doing it,” he said. “There’s a lot of towns that it could land in. It’s going to be exciting to launch it.”
    Golden said all Blatchley sixth-graders had a chance to learn about the boat and took part in today’s launch. Built by students in Oregon and destined for students in Japan, the boat has integrated Sitka students into a larger narrative beyond their local community, Golden said.
    “All of the sudden, they feel like they’re part of something bigger,” she said.
    A science field trip to St. Lazaria Island was already on today’s schedule for the Blatchley sixth graders. As the kids piled aboard an Allen Marine sightseeing boat this morning, they carried the S/V Red, White, and Blue Crew, with plans to launch it from the mouth of Sitka Sound.
    Golden is headed to a new teaching position next year at Sitka High School, where she plans to help students launch a mini-boat of their own. She said a couple of charter fishermen, including Johnson, who discovered the S/V Red, White, and Blue Crew, will help procure a kit and build the boat.

You have no rights to post comments

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:

 

On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

Login Form

______________________

 

Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 1-26-21)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 12:20 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 86

Total statewide – 51,778

Total (cumulative) deaths – 258

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,170

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Active cases in Sitka – 1

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 309 (277 resident; 32 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 308

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

______________________

 

 

20 YEARS AGO
January 2001

Rory Schneeberger of Sitka has been tapped to serve as state Rep. Peggy Wilson’s chief of staff, the District 2 representative announced today. Wilson, of Wrangell, was elected in November to represent Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan in the state House.

50 YEARS AGO
January 1971

Eleven Sheldon Jackson students will visit churches in the northern half of Southeast Alaska as part of a four-week interim study course called Contemporary Alaska Mission. Their instructor, Rev. William Zeiger, who is college chaplain, has arranged the course.

________________________

 

Facebook

calendar