Anything is possible I guess, but it must have been quite a set of
happenstance to allow the winds to do this.
I am afraid I rather subscribe to the suitcase transportation theory. It
would be interesting to see the hotels register for that week ;-)
I am having real trouble logging onto Blogger and uploading pictures or even
writing posts so here is the origional link below, you will get to see the
young aeronaut and her teacher.
Geography contest balloon crosses ocean to S. Africa
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
By KATHRIN KLENSHTEYN - Bulletin Staff Writer
It is hard to believe that a small helium balloon released in Martinsville
could land somewhere farther than Virginia or North Carolina.
It might even be harder to believe that such a balloon crossed the Atlantic
Ocean and landed in Africa. But it did.
Balloons released into the air on Sept. 15 by students at Collinsville
Primary landed as nearby as Ridgeway and, as the school's staff learned
Monday, as far as Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.
Students launched 281 helium balloons as a geography contest to see how far
the balloons would travel. The school's Parent Teacher Organization sold the
balloons to students as a fund-raiser. The students then attached cards to
them, declaring that the finders of the balloons are "balloon buddies" and
should return the cards to the school.
Katelynn Renz, 5, was the proud owner of the balloon that went to Africa.
She was happy, she said, "because my balloon went the farthest."
The postmarked and stamped letter reads: "We found the remnants of your
balloon on the lawn of our hotel here in South Africa. What a trip the
balloon took. We live in Cape Town and were vacationing here."
The author also expressed the hope that the student's balloon would be the
one that went the farthest.
Exactly how the balloon made the long trip is anyone's guess.
Collinsville Primary Principal Sandy Gammons and other teachers speculated
that Renz's balloon could have floated on Bermuda trade winds straight
across the ocean to Africa. Another theory is that the balloon could have
found its way into the luggage compartment of an airplane.
But no one had a clue as to how it got as far south as South Africa.
In the United States, the farthest balloon that was reported to the school
landed in Youngsville, N.C., which is about 144 miles away.
Gammons, a former social studies teacher, said social studies still is her
passion and she enjoys maps and geography in particular.
"If you intrigue and engage kids, I think they'll have that passion for
learning," she said, referring to the students' interest being sparked by
the balloon exercise.