Sep 262015

Leah and Rachael pick up a hop-on of river weed on the way down the Columbia River.

Head on over to right now to follow the Adventure: Columbia River expedition live and participate with our adventure educators Leah Shamlian and Rachael Mallon.  We could not be happier that these two ladies are part of the first all-female OAR Northwest team in our last five adventures.

The crew departed from just above the Canadian border on September 23, 2015, and are rowing over 750 miles to Astoria.  They are delivering free STEAM-focused educational curriculum via in-person school and community visits from the river, and through various online platforms.


Leah talks science with the students at the Evergreen School in Gifford, WA. “The fish was thiiiis big!”

Educational programming is generously funded by the Seattle Yacht Club Foundation. For more about our education and grant funding partners, sponsors, and to experience the curriculum and story as it unfolds, go to

See you on the river!

Feb 112014
Join Jordan, Greg & team on the Mississippi River this Fall 2014!

Join Jordan, Greg & team on the Mississippi River this Fall 2014!
Photo: Jordan Hanssen / OAR Northwest

Little did my parents know what developing an appreciation for classics like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would inspire. Maybe it’s not an exact correlation – between reading about Tom and Huck’s adventures in grade school, and fifteen years later deciding to take a 29-foot rowboat with three friends across the North Atlantic in a rowing race taking 72 days. However, there is no denying that my first adventures were in books, and reading about the adventures to be had on the Mississippi River were one of many things that led me to wanting to create some adventures of my own.


OAR Northwest crew answer students’ questions at the International School of Dakar – Dakar, Senegal
Photo: Erinn J Hale Photography / CWF

A side effect of rowing across the Atlantic Ocean that first time was the incredible amount of knowledge and curiosity it inspired in a wide range of subjects amongst ourselves and those that watched on the website. Since the 2006 race, OAR Northwest, the organization my crew and I built, has morphed from race support into today’s non-profit adventure education organization with several adventures under our belt. We are excited to announce a new adventure education expedition that’s going to bring our love for adventuring and the knowledge that it inspires, to the Mississippi River this Fall. We want you to be a part of our goal to visit 30 schools along the river in person, and reach 100,000 students online. Continue reading »

Apr 142013

To the life raft!

It had been close to 4 hours since we had capsized, Adam and I had been rowing since 2am with no rest, and none of us had eaten a full meal since 1900 hours the night before.  It was time to rest, recoup, and come up with a plan of attack for getting the boat upright.  After tossing around a few ideas for future plans and busting out the only reading material on the life raft, a mini bible, we settled in.  The unmistakable roar of a flat bellied C-130 (USCG I know it wasn’t a C-130, it was an HC-144 who arrived on scene first and a C-130 who showed up later but we did start singing “C-130 rolling down the strip…”) filled the air. Continue reading »

Apr 042013
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Adam sending you this photo, the wind turbine above him partially disassembled since it stopped working – now no more than a hi-tech weather vane. (Credit: OAR Northwest)

900 miles to Miami

Power conservation continues. When we realized that the wind generator did not work and disconnected it, we also realized that we had only been using one of the three batteries for weeks and making it work. Now we had all three and the solar panels seemed to be charging them for us to have all the power we would seemingly ever need. Drunk with power, so to speak, we blasted content (some of which still has not been posted). A week or so later it became clear that even charging the three batteries, we were loosing 5 to 10 amps per day in running all of our communication and science equipment at full tilt. All this new power had raised our minimum standard for what we wanted our equipment to be able to do. In choosing priorities, we are desperate to keep the science equipment running.

The biggest loss is personal computer time. Think of how good a mail call makes you feel… and take that away. Continue reading »

Apr 012013
beard trimming time

Jordan finally sees his lips for the first time in 4 weeks.

Folks that know me – parents, friends, housemates – know that I am, for the most part, one of those people that wakes up happy and chipper and cannot really fathom why waking up is so painful for other people. Rarely can I sleep eight full hours. I’m lucky if I can stay in bed after six or seven hours of sleep. I know this annoys a lot of people, especially my brother who seems to suffer from this pain and makes it very vocal when he asks me to get him up. This morning I woke up for the fourth time in one day. It was just after mine and Pat’s two-hour sleep following our four-hour row. I felt like death warmed over, and finally made the connection: Waking up might be this painful for some people all the time! Oh the humanity! I swear, if this is you I will from this point on try to be more understanding. Continue reading »