After travelling for five weeks and covering a distance of nearly a thousand miles, our buoy has been picked up.It did not wash up on the sand, or find its way to a quiet pebble beach, instead it was plucked from the sea by some curious fishermen.And it happened in dramatic circumstances.
At 8am Lynn and I did our daily check on the website and noticed that the Yellowbrick tracker showed huge overnight movement.Zooming in we saw that it had moved from its slow passage along the coast and was now on dry land.Yellowbrick’s precision mapping even allowed us to determine the buoy’s exact location.And we were in for quite a surprise…
As the map currently shows, the buoy was lounging next to the pool in a smart-looking hotel in Fortaleza.Lynn jumped on a computer and Google-mapped the location:The Golden Tulip, Fortaleza.One of the city’s premier hotels.Within seconds we were on the phone to the concierge:
"Hello, I know this will sound strange, but do you have a large lollypop shaped capsule next to your outdoor pool."
"Excuse me, sir?"
We directed the receptionist to our website and they zoomed in to the tracker’s location next to the fourth umbrella at their beach-side pool.There was long pause on the other end of the line. Ageu the concierge was dispatched pool-side to check.He returned ten minutes later in a state of high excitement.
The buoy had not been next to the swimming pool, but Ageu had popped his head over the hotel’s balcony.On the beach in front of him he saw a group of fishermen tidying away their nets and sorting their catch.And within the pile of fish he spotted the unmistakable shape of Bernie the buoy.
With a sense of urgency not always associated with concierges, Ageu ran from the hotel and accosted the fishermen.
"This piece of equipment belongs to the CIA, you must give it to me." He blurted out.
The bemused fishermen handed him the buoy and Ageu raced back to the hotel. Standing next to the pool, he phoned us from his mobile
“I have the buoy sir, but I cannot take it into the hotel because it stinks of rotting fish.But it is all intact”.
He meticulously opened the buoy and checked it was still operational.The tracker was in one piece, the buoy unscathed, and the letters all still dry.John and Jamie’s design had performed exceptionally, whilst Yellowbrick’s incredible precision tracking had allowed us to find it within minutes.
We couldn’t have hoped for a better result.
So what next?We will be travelling up to Fortaleza within the next month to meet Ageu and his team, work with local schools to respond to the students’ letters and hopefully pick up the buoy so that we can launch it again when we are crossing back from America. We are currently extremely shocked, surprised and elated.At the start of the project, Nick Farrel from Yellowbrick had said to us "I am writing this one off the books and not expecting to see it again".In the back of our minds the three of us had perhaps all feared the same.Bernie the buoy, it seems had other ideas.
Hi guys, i am very impressed with all this that happened in the hotel where i work, i am the person responsible for the buoy. My co-worker called Moisés is the guy who takes care of the swimming pool area at the Iate Plaza Hotel, he's the one who first saw the buoy when the fishermen arrived with it and they were so concerned about it because they thought it was a bomb or something like that. Then ran right back as you called and talked to Ageu and got it as fast as possible. Now he can't wait to see you.
Regards, Sandra Collado.
Name: Augusto Carvalho
That is such a great story, really nice the way that all happened. The way that the team at the hotel behaved really epitomizes Brazilian's character, always very curious and helpful!!
Will be down in Sao PAulo next week ad lets catchup!
Name: Hugh Wilson
Very pleased that you got your bouy back. Also I'm extremely pleased to see that the fiherman are still catching some fish. Down here in Bahia we don't see hauls as plentiful as that one.
Buoy o Buoy. Give something a Tiree name and it heads straight for land. Good fishermen but really good farmers.