A couple on a hike last week in Wisconsin stumbled upon what they thought was a child’s toy that was left on the shore. When the couple turned the model boat, they found a message that dated back 27 years.
Lynn and Mike BeBeau found the small boat buried in the shore near Ashland on Lake Superior on October 7. On the bottom of the boat, a message was written in black pen.
The message read, “I am traveling to the ocean. Please put me back in the water. Will you send information on your whereabouts to, Lakewood School, Room 116 & 118 5207 N. Tischer Duluth, MN 53304.”
Following the instructions, the couple placed the boat back in the water to continue its travels. They also contacted the Lakewood Elementary School in Duluth, nearly 100 miles away, who replied, saying that the class that year had studied the book Paddle to the Sea.
The Story Behind the Boat
The 1941 book talks of a small Indian canoe named Paddle that traveled through the Great Lakes and ended up in the Atlantic Ocean. The teachers behind the expedition were Bonnie Fritch and Brenda Schell, who the BeBeau’s also got in touch with. The teachers loved the story so much that they decided to recreate Paddle’s journey.
A friend of Schell made the little boat, which the teacher set sail on Brighton Beach, Minnesota, in 1993.
Fritch responded, saying, “I am not sure what happened to Brenda’s boat, but mine was spotted a year later up near the North Shore. The people put a second coat of varnish on the boat and relaunched it. I thought we wouldn’t hear any more about it. Amazing it is still out there.”
Lynn BeBeau said that she was so happy to have been the one to find the boat and said, “It’s just such a cool, feel-good story, and we need that so bad right now. What a fun surprise.”