From Peterhead to Barbados, Adventure is making waves
Peterhead brothers Ollie (8) and Harry (6) set their toy ship free on the North Sea as a modern-day equivalent of a message in a bottle. Little did they know that it would soon be making its way across the Atlantic to Barbados!
Adventure has sailed on her own across the North Sea to Norway and Sweden, and since November she has been sailing across the Atlantic.
The boys’ father, MacNeill Ferguson, was keen to encourage his sons’ dream, and helped them kit out the ship with a keel weight. He admitted, though, that he was wary of the treacherous North Sea currents.
“I thought she was going to end up down near Dundee!”
“We got a really good day with the currents, which took her about a mile out east of Peterhead, giving her a fighting chance of catching some of the bigger currents. To be honest, I thought she was going to end up down near Dundee, rather than actually of across the North Sea just with the tides!”
Adventure set sail in May 2017 from Peterhead, and managed to make it across the North Sea. In July it was picked up by Danish couple Jeppe and Ida just off the north west coast of Jutland.
They sent it out to sea again, and Adventure made it to Sweden, where it was found up a tree by Ingelin and Aksel! The pair sorted out her rigging, made new sails and put her back on the ocean.
“She then ended up in Norway,” MacNeill told us, “and was picked up by a nature inspectorate government vessel, who got in touch and asked me what I wanted to do.
“I said we really wanted to get her out of the North Sea, because she’s already gone to three different countries already – which is amazing. She’d already exceeded what we wanted her to do!”
A New Mission
“He put out a request to any ships leaving Oslo to see if they could take her with them to the Atlantic. The Christian Radich offered to take her down to the West Coast of Africa!”
The crew of the Christian Radich furnished the Adventure with new sails and took her to Mauritania in Africa. In November the crew set her out to sea just south of the Cape Verde islands.
By this point, news of the Fergusons’ mission had spread. OPEX and YB Tracking got wind of it, and offered to fit the boat with a tracker for free.
“They put her overboard in November last year, so for the past five months we’ve been watching her cross the Atlantic.”
The little boat has now travelled across 3,300 miles, and was last recorded 60 miles south of Barbados on Sunday, May 6
“The boys are delighted, they’re really happy their boat has got so far.”
“Her signals have been intermittent for the last few weeks, but she’s getting closer and closer to land,” MacNeill told us on Monday, May 7. “Just now she’s probably about 50 miles south west of Barbados. The currents are quite regular so we know where she should be.
“We’ve got a yacht over there who will go and pick her up for us if we can send them her location. Hopefully she’ll ping us again!
“If she’s in a good condition we’ll get her battery charged up and put her back to sea to see where she ends up next! If not, we’ll keep her as a prize possession.”
Spreading the spirit of adventure
Once Playmobil caught wind of the story, boxes of new toys started arriving at the Fergusons’ house.
“Playmobil send them a pile of boxes of stuff – as a thank you for all the attention they’re getting! – and the boys agreed that they would keep one toy each. The rest we give away.”
The boys donated Playmobil family sets to the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, so that more children could create their own adventures. The Fergusons feel strongly about giving back to the community – inspired by the help they received from around the world. Whenever Adventure has run aground or got into trouble, strangers have stopped to pick her up and set her out to sea again.
“This is one of the things we’ve been able to teach the boys. They can see that people help regularly, and in return we teach the boys to think as part of a community and to help other people.”
Adventure 241 of 500!
The mission to sail their pirate ship out to sea was only adventure number 54 out of a list 500. So far they’ve completed 241 of these adventure missions.
“The norm for the boys now is to actually go out exploring and learning – neither of them watch TV and they hardly play on the Xbox. I think they’re more confident and engaged children because of it.”
Ollie and Harry’s list of adventures also include sleeping in a bothy, keeping a snowman alive for a year, and finding buried treasure.
Not only did the boys find buried treasure – they’ve hidden some too. The boys hid some of the family play sets from Playmobil across Aberdeenshire in a Christmas Treasure Hunt open to all.
They’re doing another Treasure Hunt later this month, and you can find out how to take part on BBC Scotland. Ollie and Harry will announce their plans on the Out For The Weekend programme on Friday, May 11.
Wherever the toy ship ends up, the adventure doesn’t stop here.
You can follow along and get some inspiration for your next adventure on their Facebook page The Days Are Just Packed.
Here is a little catch up of our little boat adventure journey so far ⛵️❤️?
Posted by The days are just packed on Friday, 13 April 2018