Students from Eusebio Barreto Secondary School, La Palma, launch Buche Salado II, an educational miniboat that will cross the Atlantic Ocean

Students from Garoé Secondary School, El Hierro, also took part. Their boat, El Hierro-Mar, Salitre y Lava, will be launched in the next few days.

With Buche Salado II, a total of 190 small sailing boats have now been launched under the international Educational Passages programme.

Students from the Eusebio Barreto Secondary School, Los Llanos de Aridane, La Palma, have launched an educational miniboat of the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) in the waters of Tazacorte (La Palma). The miniboat will cross the Atlantic Ocean as part of the international Educational Passages programme.

The launching of the small educational sailboat, Buche Salado II, took place after a joint training session held at the secondary school in Los Llanos de Aridane, in which students from IES Eusebio Barreto and IES Garoé, Valverde, took part.

The training session was attended by Cassie Stymiest, director of Educational Passages, an international programme that brings marine sciences to secondary school classrooms in collaboration with the European iFADO project; Francisco Campuzano, iFADO project coordinator; the teachers of IES Eusebio Barreto, Antonia María Arroyo, and IES Garoé, María Mileyvi Fernández, and Carlos Barrera on behalf of PLOCAN

Cassie Stymiest said that “it is a special day because we can share the experience of launching a miniboat into the sea with the students and representatives iFADO and PLOCAN. We are also celebrating the fact that Buche Salado II represents the milestone of 190 miniboats in our international Educational Passages programme.” Stymiest congratulated all those who have taken part and spoke of his hopes for the voyage, highlighting the importance of the programme in making science more accessible to young people.

Campuzano stressed the importance of international collaboration and of the various stakeholders, including citizen participation, for monitoring large marine areas such as the Atlantic Ocean. He went on to say that the iFADO project, funded by the European INTERREG Atlantic Area programme, brings together research institutions from different fields such as numerical modelling, satellite remote sensing, oceanographic campaigns and new technologies.

The miniboat is expected to cross the Atlantic Ocean, like other miniboats in the Educational Passages programme, the aim of which is to spread environmental literacy, particularly with respect to the ocean environment, by means of GPS-equipped miniboats that follow ocean currents and winds. Thanks to the programme, students of all ages can explore ocean phenomena while participating in transoceanic classrooms.

The mini-sailboat, Buche Salado II, is equipped with a GPS transmitter and a temperature sensor powered by a small solar panel mounted on the surface of the boat. The students wrote about the origins of the boat and their work has been stored in a small 20-centimetre hold, so that it can be identified when it is found.

Driven by the ocean winds and currents, Buche Salado II will follow a course that can be observed in real time via the Educational Passages website, so that students can discover the characteristics of the sea routes that it follows, learning all about ocean currents and winds in an interactive format.

The main goal of the programme is to introduce students to sailing and to engage them in collaborative learning through international cultural experiences, and to increase understanding of the value of the hydrosphere as a shared resource through ocean literacy. The programme brings the ocean into the classroom, whether it is on the coast or inland.

iFADO: The Interreg Atlantic iFADO project aims to create marine services at regional and sub-regional scale, using the Atlantic waters of the European Union as a case study. Filling current technical gaps, iFADO will build on the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) to demonstrate the application of innovative products.

Last year, the iFADO II educational mini-sailboat, Buche Salado, left the port of Tazacorte and sailed to the island of Guadeloupe, in the Lesser Antilles, after a two-month Atlantic crossing of 5,055 kilometres.

Garoé Secondary School in Valverde plans to launch its educational miniboat, El Hierro-Mar, Salitre y Lava, on Friday 19 May, from the waters of La Restinga, in the south of the island of El Hierro.

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