Ollie and Harry and a Boat Called Adventure
July 26, 2018 10:07 AM   Subscribe

Ollie and Harry are two young Scottish brothers who sent their Playmobil toy ship the Adventure on a trip around the world. With GPS tracking and some help from friendly people along the way, the boat has been at sea for nearly a year, making it more than 3700 miles, with stops in Denmark, Sweden, Mauritania and elsewhere. It was last tracked May 12 off the coast of Barbados, but ships are on the lookout. It's all part of the boys' epic list of 500 adventures.
posted by DirtyOldTown (26 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
oh no my shriveled raisin heart is warmed
posted by poffin boffin at 10:16 AM on July 26 [7 favorites]


Ollie and Harry are two young Scottish brothers with parents who are building the brand.

Hey, we didn't hold it against Grumpy Cat that her owner exploited her for internet cheddar!
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:22 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Please put me back in the water

Safe travels, Adventure!
posted by corey flood at 10:24 AM on July 26 [8 favorites]


Grumpy cat was, y'know, a cat.
The exploitation of youth by pushy parents is a tale as old as time, in this case it appears to be their actual childhood itself rather than them being forced to perform on stage or train intensely for a sport.
Yes, 2 young lads launching a boat is heartwarming but 500 adventures they made up all of their own will that coincidentally provide a roadmap of episodic content for years? Who could that be of interest to? On the domain they registered with their credit card? To share with their 20k Facebook followers?
To aim for notoriety should be a choice, to be thrust into it because your parent has deemed your life a viable category of content provider is a little skeevy.
posted by Damienmce at 10:37 AM on July 26 [10 favorites]


What a happy little ghost ship.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:45 AM on July 26


Please put me back in the water

Yep, came here to mention Paddle-to-the-Sea, which was pretty much my favorite book when I was about five or six.

And Tiny Croft is going to be two soon, which is too little to wrap her head around most of the adventures on their list. Right now she can't imagine anything more awesome than wedging herself inside the round storage ottoman in her room and proudly announcing, "I stuck!"

And then promptly doing it again as soon as we pull her free.

But she's growing and getting more cognitively sophisticated - and adventurous - all the time. I need to go through that list and start making plans for adventures we can have together.
posted by Naberius at 11:01 AM on July 26 [6 favorites]


500 adventures they made up all of their own will that coincidentally provide a roadmap of episodic content for years

This is a good point. I'll bet the parents of the 'Charlie bit my finger' kids are kicking themselves right about now.
There were sooo many other things out there that Charlie could have bitten for micropayments! (Starting with his brother's nine unbitten fingers.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:03 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


500 adventures they made up all of their own will that coincidentally provide a roadmap of episodic content for years

"Sleep in hammocks" seems pretty kid-like in it's small-scale.

And as a parent of two little precocious boys, I can see some of this coming wholly from their fuzzy little heads, moreso if the parents are the type to do this sort of thing, or talk about it around their kids. Children are funny little sponges, who pull in the world and regurgitate it with their own weird modifications, so if their parents are often geared up for some adventure, I could see the kids start thinking about their own adventures.

Or maybe they just came across 500 Things to Do With Your Children Before They Grow Up (link to book on Amazon) and thought "let's have our own 500 adventures!"

Parting anecdote: I remember being in 2nd grade and a rather artistic kid make an impressive mask (for a 2nd grader), and the teacher talking about entering it into a competition but worried it looked too good to be believed as something made wholly by the kid. But then there weren't parents behind the kid talking about his "brand."

In summary, the internet age is an era of contrasts, where little kids with big ideas can be promoted by their parents for fame and fortune more easily than in decades past.

(Also, I'm pretty sure I have that boat, which was recently given back to me by my mother, who kept so much of my kids stuff, so I might be in defensive dad "kids are weird and awesome, don't doubt them!" mode. But I'm pretty happy that my kids have no "brand" or "internet presence".)
posted by filthy light thief at 11:11 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


When I think of these poor, exploited kids, performing science experiments, spending tons of time with their parents, giggling, learning, meeting and talking with people from all over the world, I just--[sobs, bites fist.] Sorry. We were talking about a goat, was it?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:12 AM on July 26 [21 favorites]


I'm mushy on the social media aspect of these stories but I will say it's a weird time to have a pretty average, non-precocious young kid. I mean, I think he's pretty great, but going online is basically applying a filter to only show you the most precocious, gifted, photogenic children (with--and this is not a trivial thing--the parents with the most free time to spare), and I don't even know what's normal anymore. Is there something wrong with my son that he can't even sit through 20 minutes of a Disney movie while there are parents on my FB whose children (apparently) demand to be taken to the opera? Or that he is reading Frog and Toad books and hasn't really yet internalized that history did not begin with his birth, while same-aged kids on Insta are reading Moby Dick and playing pretend games based on the Battle of the Bulge?

I strongly suspect that if I prodded my son about whether he was curious about where a toy boat would go if we put it in the river, his reply would be, "I'm hungry, can I have a snack?" and not "Let's send a toy boat around the world and track it with GPS!"
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:35 AM on July 26 [7 favorites]


When I think of these poor, exploited kids, performing science experiments, spending tons of time with their parents, giggling, learning, meeting and talking with people from all over the world,

That's sort of my point. What if he wants to sit at home and play Fortnite or just stare at a wall or hide in his room and draw pictures of dogs or hang out with his friends or break into a building site and injure himself or set something on fire to see what happens. Childhood should be a wonderful mess.
posted by Damienmce at 11:39 AM on July 26


So why would the boat have stopped transmitting? Would sinking kill the transmitter or make it just to heard to get the signal through the water?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:51 AM on July 26


500 adventures - Checked: Survive a zombie apocalypse, Go To Jail. I'd like to see the docs on those; maybe their interpretation is a little loose, after all they're only kids.
posted by achrise at 11:52 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Zombie Apocalypse: escaped lunch hour horde of smartphone staring office drones.
Go To Jail: Spent the weekend at Gramma's
posted by notyou at 11:56 AM on July 26 [4 favorites]


I will say it's a weird time to have a pretty average, non-precocious young kid.

I hear you, and this is a legit concern. I think my nephew is pretty awesome even if his accomplishment this week was not eating any styrofoam. But I'm also not not gonna post it if my nine year-old can play the "Wedding Tarantella" on mandolin, you know?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:04 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


"Sleep in hammocks" seems pretty kid-like in it's small-scale.

True fact: This is part of my secret magic. I've been sleeping in my hammock off and on for almost five years now, and have finally put it up inside in a functional way that doesn't shake the rafters and house too much.

I'm also prone to sleeping outside in the yard. I'll just grab my sleeping bag, a camping pad, maybe a tarp and go read a book under the stars with my headlamp on in dim red mode.

I'm also currently just covered in thorn scratches and bug bites. I've been biking and hiking all over town like a little kid, exploring the less traveled trails, actually chasing actual butterflies.

I even show up to work and meetings and even training with signs of adventure - a packed bike, a backpacking pack, dirty jeans, sand in my shoes and grass in my hair. When rarely questioned about what exactly the hell I'm doing, the answer is easy and free of anxiety: "I'm living the hell out of my life! Let's go ride bikes!"

Part of my life story and invented mythos is that I'm still - technically - on a bike tour. I was talking about that with a friend who is doing a similar thing with boats, cultivating his own gentle pirate self image and real life RP that's more hard work on restoring an old boat and less twee than it sounds.

It's not really about his mild pirate-DJ schtick, but about adventuring and wandering and self discovery.

And I'm, ugh, getting close to 50 fucking years old and what the fuck how did this happen? How do I get to feel more like a kid, here and now, then I did when I was a kid? Hell, I might even be more cash poor and less generally secure than I was as a teenager in the 80s and 90s!

Why now?

Shrug. Right now is pretty ok. I get to be a mature, somewhat responsible kid again, but with a more mature taste and palette, memories of bitter to temper the sweet to appreciate it all the more.

And so I get to re-experience wonder, joy and awe and keep continuously re-discovering it.

And there is a practical, easy magic to it. All around me is chaos, even pain and somehow that needle gets threaded and I feel protected. I don't know how this happens but I am thankful.

Do it. Sleep in hammocks. Ride your bike. Go for walks. Wander. Play. Remember to play. Remember to be silly, even ridiculous.

If you wait too long, it might not happen. And that's one of the greater travesties of life.
posted by loquacious at 12:12 PM on July 26 [16 favorites]


Some friends of mine are big geocachers, and they are currently the caretakers of a large ship in a bottle, slowly making its way to Germany. Right now it's stopped in northern Indiana.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:23 PM on July 26


loquacious, that's amazing. thanks for that.
posted by knownassociate at 12:31 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


oh no my shriveled raisin heart is warmed

Metafilter has your back!
posted by thelonius at 12:37 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


How is it we’re banning straws while awesome kids get to float plastic toys into the ocean? It’s all fun and games until an orca has its stomach ripped open by a tiny pirate ship.

There. Now I feel better about plopping the kids in front of a screen while daddy finishes his martini instead of helping them survive a zombie outbreak.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:49 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


There are worse things to to with your children than document their adventures. It seems like they are still allowed to be kids.

I sleep in a hammock and I have rather a fair bit of Playmobil. I don't have that ship. That's the 3940/3286. The nice ship. I do have a 5778 though.

Today's challenge is to take a shower and go pick up the mail and buy food. I still have time. I can do it. I can.

I AM LIVING THE DREAM, DAMN IT!
posted by monopas at 2:00 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


And I'm, ugh, getting close to 50 fucking years old and what the fuck how did this happen?

Well, the first six decades of childhood are the hardest. It gets easier after that.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:56 PM on July 26 [3 favorites]


How the hell is that boat still floating? My 5 year old has about 2/3 of the pieces of the pirate ship model 5778 that monopas linked above (basically everything except for the masts and sails - a neighbor pulled it out of his garbage can during a garage sale when my son asked if they had any boat toys for sale). It sinks ALL THE TIME in the choppy waters of the neighborhood wading pool. Did they assemble it with glue? Seal all of the seams to make it watertight? I need more information before I show this website to my child.
posted by Maarika at 12:20 PM on July 27


Did you try RT[F]A? (sorry, don't want to be rude, but the acronym isn't recognizable without the F). The answer is yes. Also, they filled it with styrofoam.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:23 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Whoops, I did miss that single sentence explanation in the article.
posted by Maarika at 12:45 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


In addition to that, it seems that further repairs have been done to it during the journey by charitable ship-finders. Pretty neat!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 5:31 AM on July 29


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