Ireland has seen many strange things washed up on its coastal shores, but when a mystery boat was spotted near the Irish coast in 2016, the coast guard and authorities scrambled to help. However, there was no crew to be found! Initially, everyone was stumped by the appearance of the odd craft and the purpose of it. Everyone wanted to know where it had come from and how it even got there. When the mystery was finally solved after piecing the bizarre clues together using the strange message, the vessel became a very interesting tourist attraction. Read on to discover what the strange message meant, and what exactly the purpose of this mystery boat proved to be.
1. A Mysterious Object
In 2016, it was just another gloomy day Ireland, not unlike all the rest. The skies were gray and a heavy mist had set in over the coast. The people were going about their daily routines when suddenly something appeared in the distance.
No one was quite sure what the mysterious object was, but it was big and floating off the Irish coast, seemingly with no purpose and no objective. That’s when someone decided to call the authorities to look into the matter.
2. Collision Course
The large object was on a collision course, headed straight for the rocky eastern Irish coastline. And as it grew closer people realized that it must be a boat or vessel of some sort. It was just floating in the water, letting the waves take it where they pleased.
Confused onlookers knew that they had to do something before the vessel came crashing into the rocky coastline. If there were people on board the ship then they were in dire distress. So they did the only thing that they knew how.
3. Rescue Attempt
Some good Samaritans called the coast guard to report the strange vessel floating just off the coast. The coast guard sprang into action immediately, worried that if anyone were on board the ship, they could be in some kind of danger.
As they approached the ship, they noticed something very odd. The ship didn’t look like anything that should be out in the water, as its design looked more like a caravan. But then something unexpected happened when they boarded the ship.
4. Something Strange
When the coast guard personnel boarded the vessel they found something very strange indeed. After searching the entire boat, they couldn’t find a single person on board. The discovery raised far more questions than answers. Where had all the passengers gone?
The entire event left the coast guard stumped. One of the operatives even stated that it was the strangest thing that he had ever come across. The boat was designed in a way that the coast guard had never come across. It didn’t even look like it should have been sea-worthy.
5. More Questions
Despite that, the coast guard believed that the boat was perfectly sea-worthy, even though the peculiar vessel was made out of unorthodox materials and the design wasn’t really compatible with sea travel. But that still did not answer any questions.
Just where had the vessel come from and why were there no people on board? Those were all questions that would only be figured out much later. Only after they got the boat back to the coast and investigated further.
6. Back To The Coast
The next difficult thing the coast guard was tasked with was trying to get the boat back to the coast and on land. Not knowing how stable the craft was, they didn’t want to try and investigate too much while it was at sea.
Even though the boat was still in one piece, it had obviously been through a lot based on the weathered conditions on the outside of the structure. The windows had all been smashed in and broken boards lay all around the vessel.
7. Still Intact
When the boat was finally grounded on the Irish coast, the coast guard began to explore further inside. What they found was truly remarkable. While the vessel had been through a lot, it was still largely intact, just needing a bit of renovation.
It looked to them like it was certainly made for someone to live in, but there were no signs of a person or personal items anywhere. That’s when they looked at one of the walls and found a mysterious message.
8. A Mystery Name
The mysterious message included one hint at who might have built the strange boat. The message included a name; a name that proved to be a lead as to who could have built the strange looking vessel and for what purpose.
“The shape, itself, is very unusual, because of the size of it. I initially thought it might be a caravan,” one of the coast guards commented. He added that the boat was, however, “inhabitable,” arousing suspicions on what its purpose had been. The plot was only beginning to thicken.
9. The Other Side
No matter what the boat’s purpose was, they only had one clue as to who could have built the vessel. And that was a man named Rick Small. But Small didn’t turn out to be a local man. He was actually someone from the other side of the world.
Rick Small was a man from Thunder Bay, Ontario who was already well-known in Canada for doing things that some people found a bit odd. According to those who knew the man, he was very nice but a bit eccentric. So where was Small and why wasn’t he on the boat anymore?
10. Solar Panels
The coast guard did some research on Rick Small in the hopes of solving the mystery. They discovered Small to be highly involved in environmentalism and a huge advocate of alternative energy sources, such as solar energy. Small himself built multiple vehicles such as bicycles that run on solar energy.
Still, this fact still didn’t solve the mystery of the boat, nor how it made its way all the way to Ireland without even one person on board. There was still more to the message on the wall, and the coast guard needed to interpret it further.
11. Piecing the Puzzle Together
After some further research on Rick Small, the authorities discovered that Small had decided that he was going to build his very own solar-powered boat. But he didn’t want to build the boat just to travel in, he also wanted to make the boat a home for himself.
Small also didn’t want to just travel around the Canadian coastline. He had much bigger plans in mind when he set off the built the boat. Rick Smalls wanted to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in his solar-powered creation. Little did he know at the time though, that his love of solar energy would lead him to something bigger than he had ever dreamed of.
12. Where There’s A Will
So, Rick Small, with his dream in mind, started working on a plan to build his solar-powered boat. He was by no means a shipwright but he had the will and he was going to find a way. With the help and guidance of some local companies, Small started to purchase the items that he would need for his boat-building project.
He decided that he would build the boat out of lumber and polystyrene, a general-purpose plastic that is clear and hard. But once all this information was established, the coast guard wanted to know where Small was and why he had written a strange message on the wall.
13. The Voyage
Before the vessel was found off the coast of Ireland, Rick Small worked long and hard to complete his boat. In the end, it was 20 feet long. An impressive size boat for someone with no experience in boat making. Then he started to prepare for his grand voyage.
With almost everything in order, Rick was getting ready to set sail across the Atlantic Ocean. But if Small’s boat made it all the way from Canada to Ireland, where was Rick Small? That question would be a hard one to answer.
14. A Big No!
Before setting sail, Small decided that he would let the coast guard know about his plan to set sail across the Atlantic. The coast guard, however, wasn’t thrilled with the idea. They claimed that the vessel wasn’t seaworthy enough to make the long journey.
Fearing that he would be intentionally putting his life at risk, Rick Small decided that he wouldn’t be attempting the trip across the Atlantic after all. But if that was the case, just how did his boat get all the way over to Ireland? What’s more, what message was written on the wall and had Rick Small written it himself?
15. Not As Planned
However, things didn’t quite go quite as planned for the Canadian environmentalist. There are many theories on the exact events surrounding the unusual fate of the boat, but the most agreed upon theory is that the boat got loose in the dock somehow.
From there the boat most likely got accidentally detached, perhaps in a storm, and started to drift. The free drifting boat apparently made its way all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, to where it ended up on the Irish coast where the secret message would be revealed.
16. Inside The Boat
The boat drifted all the way from the Canadian island of Newfoundland for more than 2,0000 miles to the Irish coast near County Mayo. When the Irish authorities finally got the ship ashore, they began investigating the inside more thoroughly.
Inside the boat, they found a cryptic message written on the wall saying, “I, Rick Small, donate this structure to a homeless youth. To give them a better life that Newfoundlanders choose not to do! No Rent, no mortgage, no hydro.” What did this all mean?
17. Another Purpose
No one quite knows how the ship got all the way over to Ireland, but what we do know is that Rick Small re-purposed the ship that he built for something else entirely. As an environmentalist, Small also had a soft spot for the homeless.
Small figured that if he couldn’t use the ship for sailing across the Atlantic, then he would donate the ship to a homeless person in need of shelter. After all, the boat was large enough to be used as a home for someone. Little did he know at the time though, that his love of solar energy would lead him to something bigger than he had ever dreamed of. The next mystery proved to be Small’s whereabouts …
18. The Project
News of Rick Small’s project quickly made its way across Ireland and the world. People were amazed and inspired by the story of Small’s generosity and kind-hearted nature. To think that the boat made it all the way across the Atlantic by mistake. However, there was more to Small that nobody knew.
The story was such a hit that tourists began to flock to where the boat was situated, quickly becoming a tourist attraction in the area. But that was only the start of what the Irish had in store for Rick Small’s boat.
19. The Dilemma
Initially, the Irish authorities didn’t know what to do with the boat. Many thought they should have left it right where it was found. But the solar-powered boat that had drifted all the way from Canada started attracting lots of tourists.
A number of companies have even expressed an interest in restoring the boat back to pristine condition and making it an official landmark in their Atlantic Way tour, helping to promote tourism in the area. But that apparently wouldn’t be happening, at least not yet.
20. Where is Rick Small?
Irish authorities placed the solar-powered boat in storage, hoping that it would eventually be claimed by its owner, Rick Small. But so far, he hasn’t come forward. In the meantime, people have been looking for Small since the boat washed ashore.
Oddly enough, no one has been able to find Small. Many people claim to have seen Small prior to the boat leaving Newfoundland but no one knows his whereabouts currently. Also, it’s unknown whether the boat was accidentally released or intentionally released from the dock.
21. The Bike
This hasn’t been the only time that Small has helped promote something big. Prior to building his boat, Rick Small built another solar-powered invention that took news headlines by storm. Small built a solar-powered three-wheeled bike for a very unusual purpose.
In order to promote the use of alternative energy, such as solar power, Rick Small decided that he would ride the solar-powered bike he built all the way across Canada, that’s over 4,000 miles! What do you think, did he succeed?
In fact, Small did just what he set out to do. He rode his solar-powered bike from the province of British Columbia on Canada’s west coast, all the way to the island of Newfoundland on Canada’s east coast. The journey was no easy feat, though.
In total, the trip across the country took Rick Small 114 days. He traveled over 4,000 miles but it wasn’t all easy. “The hard days are cloudy days, when it starts to rain and stuff, so I’ll have to pull over and set up and camp for the day,” Small told reporters during his trip
23. You Can Too
Despite the rough patches, Small said that riding across the country on his solar-powered bike was a blast. He held that view even though his bike could only get up to about 17 miles per hour and he couldn’t travel in the rain.
Rick Small hoped that his amazing feat would help others to learn that solar energy is a great alternative to carbon-based fuels and that more people with start using alternative energy. If he could travel all the way across Canada on solar power, so can everyone else. This was the impetus behind his strange looking boat found in Ireland, and there was still more to the story.
24. St. John’s
At the conclusion of his cross-country escapade, Rick Small finally made it to St. John’s, the capital city of the province Newfoundland and Labrador. There, he set up camp on the island and eventually started his boat project that he had dedicated to the homeless.
Since Small’s houseboat washed ashore in November of 2016, there has been no update on whether Rick Small has been located. As he is an environmentalist that lives mostly off the grid, he is not an easy man to locate. But Small’s boat wasn’t the only strange thing to wash up on Ireland’s shores.
25. More Odd Things
Ireland, based on its location, is known for having odd things wash ashore. There have been many occurrences, apart from the solar-powered boathouse, where things have drifted to the Irish coast from distant lands. One boat drifted from an amazing 4,000 miles away.
This was is a Cuban refugee boat that washed ashore on Sligo beach in Ireland. According to experts, the boat was homemade. The hull of the boat has rotted and the bottom is covered with barnacles. It’s the first time such a vessel was recorded washing up in Europe.
26. War Remnants
Some of the findings have even been dangerous, as these next items prove. Within the span of a week and a half, four metallic devices were found on a beach in Northern Ireland. They turned out to be unexploded mortar shells.
According to experts, the mortars were remnants of World War II and still capable of exploding at any time due to being unstable. It is believed that the mortars were dumped into the sea surrounding Britain after the war as it is known that they dumped over two million tons of equipment into the sea. This hasn’t been the only bizarre sighting in Ireland, though.
In a bizarre turn of events, back in 2009, tens of thousands of starfish washed ashore on a beach in Sligo. It was estimated that about 50,000 of the sea creatures had littered the shores. It goes without saying that this was an extremely rare occurrence.
While starfish are common to the northern Atlantic near Ireland, researchers said that they had never seen such an event. It is believed that the starfish were killed due to extreme weather then drifted towards Ireland’s coastal areas. Continue reading to see what was found in 2015 off the coast of Ireland. It’s nothing short of incredible.
28. An Odd Helmet
On Christmas Eve in 2015, a local man in County Waterford was walking along the beach when he spotted something strange on the shoreline. It turned out to be a helmet, and judging by the barnacle encrustation, it had been in the water for some time.
There was no hint as to where the helmet came from apart from the crest and Latin phrase “Saluti primum auxilio semper,” meaning “Safety first, service always.” After posting an image of the helmet online it was found to belong to the Canadian Coast Guard. It seems to be some kind of tend to find strange things in the otherwise quaint land of Ireland, as you’ll see next.
29. An Odd Turtle
In County Clare, back in 2009, a strange and rare loggerhead turtle washed ashore. In fact, it was only the second time that such a turtle had been found on Irish coasts. The young turtle was in a comatose state.
Rescuers were called in to collect the turtle and try to revive the poor creature. The turtle was also suffering from hypothermia when found. After being rehabilitated successfully, the turtle was returned to the ocean to live in its natural habitat.
30. Rare Artifact
In May of 2016, a strange wooden object washed ashore on the Irish island of Tory. The wooden object was some type of fork-shaped sculpture with a face engraved at the top. Researchers believe that the artifact once belonged to an African tribe.
The family that found the item originally thought it was just an ordinary stick and proceeded to use it to play fetch with their dog, only later did they realize what a rare find it was. The family has been encouraged to take the item to a museum to have its origins looked into further.
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