Ear: Miniboat

The Columbia River Maritime Museum's Miniboat Program (fb.me/CRMMminiboats or crmm.org), designed by Nate Sandel, the museum's education director, is back.

The 5-foot GPS-equipped miniboats, which will sail to Japan, are designed, built, launched and tracked by students, and this year, one of the teams is from Warrenton Grade School. Each U.S. team is matched up with a team of Japanese students.    

In Warrenton, students "… are putting the final touches on their vessel," Lisa Scholin of Noble Communications wrote. On Friday, "they worked with Pacific Power engineers and a solar expert to add solar-power lighting to their vessel — which happens to be Goonies-themed, complete with treasure map artwork." Pictured, center, Jon Connelly, field engineering manager; behind him is Stan Co, field engineer. The photo is courtesy of Pacific Power.

"Students experimented with tiny watch batteries and miniature, red LED lights," Lisa explained, "which twinkled on like Rudolph noses around the classroom, as students successfully created circuits."

Mark your calendar: The Goonies miniboat is being launched by the Columbia River Bar Pilots following a Miniboat Summit prelaunch event at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 21 at the maritime museum. And then the watching and tracking armchair fun really begins — last year, one of the miniboats wound up in the South Pacific, on a remote island in the Republic of Kiribati.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.