Toy boat launched on Lake Superior washes ashore 25 years later

BAYFIELD, WISCONSIN—A toy boat launched at Lake Superior as part of an elementary school class project has washed ashore more than 25 years after setting sail.

According to an Oct. 11 Facebook post from Duluth Public Schools in Duluth, Minnesota, Lynn BeBeau recently discovered the little wooden boat on a remote beach on Lake Superior along the Apostle Island National Lakeshore near Eagle Island in northern Wisconsin. An inscription on the bottom of the boat read: “I am traveling to the ocean. Please put me back in the water.”

It also asked for anyone who finds the boat to send information about the boat’s whereabouts to Lakewood Elementary School, which is part of Duluth Public Schools.

In the Facebook post from Duluth Public Schools, the school system asked followers for help figuring out where the mysterious little wooden ship came from.

Bonnie Fritch replied saying she and a fellow teacher launched the boat during the 1993-1994 school year as part of a unit on “Paddle-to-the-Sea”, a children’s book in which a small wooden boat is launched on Lake Superior.

“We mapped out the travels of the canoe through the Great Lakes,” Fritch said on Facebook. “A friend of Brenda’s made the boats for us and our classes painted them and added the message to the bottom. On our end of the year field trip for our Duluth unit we stopped at Brighton Beach to launch the boats.”

She went on to say she wasn’t sure what happened to Brenda’s boat but hers was spotted a year later up the North Shore.

“The people put a second coat of varnish on the boat and relaunched it,” Fritch’s post said. “I thought we wouldn’t hear anymore about it. Amazing it is still out there.”


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