Ollie and Harry Ferguson aren’t your average sea captains. They’ve only got one ship under their command, and a combined age of 15. They’ve never stepped behind the vessel’s helm, but they’ve been hawk-like trackers of its progress. Granted, their ship is barely two feet long and made by Playmobil.
The boys released the toy boat into the North Sea one year ago, and with an extra cushion of polystyrene and Lady Luck on their side, it’s covered nearly 3,000 miles. In fact, as you read this, it’s floating past the sun-kissed coast of Guyane, by South America.
Such a grand voyage was never a part of the plan. Or rather, the Ferguson family never imagined that the boat, which they counterbalanced with an extra weight and equipped with a tracking device, would last so long. “After trials in [an] open air swimming pool, they took it to the coast and launched it into the waves,” reads the family’s website, “It carried a message asking anyone who found [it] to return it to the sea after recording where they found it.”
The starting point was Peterhead, Scotland. Since then, it’s traveled to Denmark, where it was picked up and relaunched by a family; then to Sweden, where it almost met a fatal end by crashing into a tree (a woman found it, and repaired it), and rode the wake of a full-rigged Norwegian ship (the captain was a fan) called the Cutty Sark, and traveled all the way to the Atlantic.
Apparently, the toy boat, which was aptly named, “Adventure”, suffered “rigging damage” and weathered sails. Thankfully, “the actual repairs were undertaken by crew members that had helped restore the Cutty Sark, so [Adventure] was in capable hands,” says the Ferguson family.
The best part of the voyage has been the way it engages the brothers with technology, the outdoors, and, well, the world. Anyone can track the ship’s progress on their website and Facebook page, and everyone has; it’s bursting with digital love letters of encouragement and excitement to see where the ship ends up. Here’s a snapshot of its whereabouts on April 22:
As for the captains, who go by Pickle and Pipsqueak, the reward has been ticking off every country rooting for their ‘Adventure’. That, and getting jazzed to take on about 500 more expeditions (seriously). “The [500 Adventures] idea came about from the boys,” their father told CBS News, “we just asked them one day if we could come up with some things to do as a family.”
They responded by saying they’d like to send their Lego men to the bottom of the sea, into outer space, create an “Intergalactic Sausage Day”, and more. Frankly, they’re making a nice dent in the list — here are their scuba-diving Legos to prove it:
As well as their Space-bound comrades ↓ Unfortunately, their helium balloon didn’t get them all the way to Mars (but they had a sharp looking rocket):