** UPDATE **
5/27/13 -- Thank you so much to all of you who contributed to the cause. We now have the mighty task in front of us of beginning the fulfillment phase for your contributions. Copies of Jordan's book Rowing into the Son, the Salish Oars DVD, signed photos and personal phone calls are on the lists and we'll begin tackling those over the coming weeks.
Without your generous support, we wouldn't have been able to find and retrieve the rowboat and all of its valuable data and film footage. While we haven't covered the recovery costs completely, this has reduced the burden significantly. We can't wait to share the spoils with you all in the very near future.
Adam, Greg, Jordan, Markus, Patrick
P.S. - If you missed your chance to contribute, it's not too late! You can still donate through our secure Paypal account. (you don't need a Paypal to contribute... look for the "continue" link in the lower-left just above the pictures of credit cards)
On January 23, 2013, adventure educators Jordan Hanssen, Markus Pukonen, Patrick Fleming, and Adam Kreek, members of the Seattle-based organization OAR Northwest, set out from Dakar, Senegal in the 29-foot long ocean rowboat James Robert Hanssen (JRH). Their destination was Miami, Florida - over 3,500 miles away. Their human-powered row across the Atlantic to collect scientific data and promote an ocean conservation mentality would be the first of its kind, earning them a place in the record books.
Their mission was to gather hi-resolution oceanographic data, studying ocean acidification among other profiles, and to educate students all over the world about the ocean, and themselves, through daily classroom updates. To accomplish these goals, the JRH was transformed into an incredibly advanced scienctific research vessel, complete with data collection equipment, an advanced communications suite, and an onboard energy source powered by solar panels and a wind turbine.
For the next 73 days the crew collected data, published their thoughts and findings to a daily blog, communicated with classrooms from Africa to the USA to New Zealand, and filmed their documentary - all while navigating, solving unexpected technical challenges, fighting debilitating seasickness, and rowing 24 hours per day. Then, when the crew had just 850 of the 3,569 miles left, disaster struck.
In the pre-dawn hours of Saturday April 6th, the JRH was hit by a series of unusual waves that instantaneously capsized the boat, throwing two of the crew into the ocean and trapping two more inside the cabin. The first wave forced the bow underwater, while the second overtook the stern and flipped it instantly; flooding the stern cabin through an open hatch. The rowboat capsized and, due to the flooded cabin, failed to self-right as it was designed to do. After freeing themselves from the cabin, the crew activated their rescue beacons and spent several hours attempting to right their vessel before being rescued through the courageous efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard coordinated by Sector San Juan in Puerto Rico, and the merchant freighter NYK Haijin, who transported them to Puerto Rico. The James Robert Hanssen and all her science data, film, equipment, and video floated abandoned in the ocean. On April 17th, after 10 days of expensive flights and tugboat charter, she's back in safe hands, but we can't afford to process the data or footage for use in our programs.
OAR Northwest needs your help to get the valuable data back and finish their journey!
What your donation funds:
Search and Recovery operations are expensive, and we used every contact we had to retrieve the JRH efficiently at cost or better. When the OAR Northwest team was picked up by the Heijin, they attached an emergency locator beacon to the JRH, so its location is not a mystery (to us!), and there won’t be a Cast Away-style 40,000 mile wide search area for the boat. We've already chartered a plane and positively identified the overturned rowboat, and its present location. We found a recovery crew that was willing to go out and get it for us - at cost - with no extra charges. Unfortunately, that cost is still significant, and there are other expenses as well. Things that need to be paid for are:
- The spotter aircraft that confirmed the location of the JRH
- A recovery vessel to drive to the boat, conduct salvage operations, and return with the JRH and her data and film.
- Fuel for both the aircraft and the ship.
- Cost of retrieval of all science data and video for inclusion into a documentary.
The total estimated cost for recovering the JRH and her one-of-a-kind oceanic data is $75,000. To help us offset the cost, we’re asking for 50,000 in tax-deductible donations, and hoping to get more. The way Indiegogo does crowd funding makes it more profitable in the long run to shoot low, making sure we reach our campaign goal and get all of the money, rather than risking a failed campaign and getting less.
Why you should donate:
Firstly, OAR Northwest is providing the scientific community with novel, hi-resoultion, hard-to-collect data that isn’t available anywhere else. When OAR NW rowed around Vancouver Island, chronicled in the short documentary Salish Oars (http://vimeo.com/45871101),they collected oceanographic data for the water surrounding Vancouver Island at a level never before available. This data has already had a measurable impact within the scientific community, and is available for free here: http://oarnorthwest.com/expeditions/salish-expedition-2012/salish-sea-environment-map/
While at sea for 73 days on the CWF Africa to the Americas Expedition, OAR Northwest collected very similar data. Imagine the scientific value of that data is recovered. You would be contributing to the advancement of science and understanding of ocean ecosystems, and the betterment of humankind through that knowledge. Additionally, much of that data was used in the learning modules we created and offered for free to schools worldwide. So by helping us recover it, you’ll be helping to educate a generation of children on the importance of the environment, conservation, and an understanding of the oceans and our role with them.
Secondly, the OAR Northwest team filmed thousands of hours of footage while on the water, and your money helps us recover that footage. We are making a documentary to help raise awareness about ocean acidification and it's costs, and to help educate the kids and the greater public about our oceans!
Next, it’s tax deductible. OAR Northwest is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax free. You can write it off come tax time!
And finally, because it’s cool! You get to tell your friends that you were part of a search and recovery operation, and actively contributed to the betterment of humanity through science and adventure. What better bragging rights could there be?
Thank you for donating:
*Yeah, yeah, all that science and education stuff is cool, but what do I get out of it?
Well, aside from the knowledge that you have done science, education, and the environment a huge favor by helping us, we have a number of perks to entice you to donate! These are, in order of donation size:
- Donate $10.00: A personalized thank you email from the OAR Northwest team!
- Donate $20.00: A personalized thank you email, and your name in the credits of the finished documentary.
- Donate $30.00: A personalized thank you email, your name in the credits of the finished documentary, and a signed glossy photo of the OAR Northwest team in front of the recovered boat.
- Donate: $50.00: A personalized thank you email, your name in the credits of the finished documentary, a signed glossy photo of the OAR Northwest team in front of the recovered boat, and a signed copy of Salish Oars, a short documentary about the team’s "training" row around Vancouver Island, Canada.
- Donate $75.00: A personalized thank you email, your name in the credits of the finished documentary, a signed glossy photo of the OAR Northwest team in front of the recovered boat, a signed copy of Salish Oars, plus a shout out on our social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and our website.
- Donate $100.00 All of the above, and a signed copy of Jordan’s book about his first trans-Atlantic rowing adventure: Rowing into the Son. Read more about it here: www.rowingintotheson.com
- Donate $150 or more and you get all of the above, plus a phone call from the team member of your choice.
Can’t donate, but still think this is a good idea? That’s fine, we understand, but you probably have a Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media platform, right? How about giving us a shout out, so that your friends can decide if they want to donate. Every set of eyes is a possible donation. Email your friends! Tell your boss! Mention it at lunch, or the dinner table! The more people that know, the better!
About OAR Northwest:
Just in case you think this is cool, but you’re not exactly sure about how legit we are, take a peek at all of our information below!
- Website: www.oarnorthwest.com
- OAR Northwest on Facebook: www.facebook.com/oarnorthwest
- Capt. Jordan’s book: www.rowingintotheson.com
- The trailer for Salish Oars, the documentary about the team’s first expedition together, circumnavigating Canada's Vancouver Island into the Pacific Ocean: http://vimeo.com/45871101
News coverage about the rescue of the crew:
- News Tribune - http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/04/09/2548150/oar-northwest-crew-survives-capsizing.html
- Three Sheets NW - http://threesheetsnw.com/blog/2013/04/four-local-rowers-rescued-after-capsize-in-the-atlantic/
- USCG -http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/1742983/-Multimedia-Release-Coast-Guard-combines-efforts-with-international-commercial-ships-to-rescue-4-capsized-boaters-in-the-Atlantic-Ocean
- National Post - http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/08/canadian-olympian-recalls-the-moment-rowboat-capsized-in-the-middle-of-the-atlantic-ocean/
Team on This Campaign: