Today we revisit a really cool story that we stumbled upon a couple of years ago; the story of how a Maine DOT helmet ended up washing up on the shores of Norway...the country...and ultimately sparked an international friendship!


It must be something with the water. No, seriously.

The Maine DOT took to social media one year ago today and posted an interesting account of a voyage one of their helmets made, via the ocean, to Norway...the country.

"Meet our new friend Sigbjørn. He lives in Norway (the country – not the town in Maine). Sigbjørn was on a walk and found a MaineDOT hard hat in a fjord, about 3,300 miles from MaineDOT headquarters. We’re not quite sure how this happened, but we’re glad we have a new pen pal! "

Hi, Sigbjørn. Nice to meet you.

Norwegian Guy Who Found The Helmet, MaineDOT Facebook
Norwegian Guy Who Found The Helmet, MaineDOT Facebook
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Yep...that's definitely a Maine DOT hat!

Excluding the fact that Sigbjørn could be dressed as a member of the Norweigan DOT (do they have those?) it's pretty neat to consider the journey this helmet made to make it all the way from Maine to Norway.

Yup, that's one of ours! MaineDOT facebook
Yup, that's one of ours! MaineDOT facebook
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While looking a little worse for the wear, perhaps, one can only imagine, if the helmet had had actual eyes, what kinds of underwater sights it would have seen!

The Helmet, a little worse for the wear, MaineDOT facebook
The Helmet, a little worse for the wear, MaineDOT facebook
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Now what's interesting to think about also (maybe not to you, but at least to me) is the fact that this is not the first case of something from New England landing in the water, only to end up floating into the harbor of Norway.

The Helmet's "Float" Path, MaineDOT Facebook
The Helmet's "Float" Path, MaineDOT Facebook
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According to ABC television Station, WCVB, some middle schoolers in New Hampshire sent a small boat into the ocean in October of 2020, only to have it end up in Norway earlier this month...just a couple of years later.

"The 6-foot-long (1.8-meter) Rye Riptides, decorated with artwork from the kids and equipped with a tracking device that went silent for parts of the journey, was found Feb. 1 in Smøla, a small island near Dyrnes, Norway. It had lost its hull and keel on the 8,300-mile journey and was covered in gooseneck barnacles, but the deck and cargo hold were still intact. The student who found it, Karel Nuncic, took the boat to his school, and he and his classmates eagerly opened it last week."

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According to Patrick Griffin, Assistant Professor of Marine Transportation at Maine Maritime Academy, the fact that things keep ending up in Norway, likely has a lot to do with the currents of the water.

"The general rules are that there is a predominant clockwise rotation of ocean currents in the North Atlantic. The currents are driven by the warming of the equatorial waters and the cooling of the Arctic waters. The Gulf Stream runs up the N. American Coast and then veers across the Atlantic toward Europe. Anything traveling from Maine to Norway probably got pulled into the Gulf Stream was passed on to the North Atlantic Drift, and finished its journey on the Norway Current."

Map of currents, britannica.com
Map of currents, britannica.com
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As you can see, by this lovely image from brittanica.com, there's a pretty good chance stuff gets moved in that genal direction, when it makes it far enough out into the ocean.

What's even cooler, is that the helmet washing up on shore and being found is not where this story ends.

Staying true to their word, folks from the Maine DOT stayed in touch with Sigbjørn, to the point that they even sent him some DOT swag. They even posted about it on the Maine DOT Facebook Page.

Sigbjørn with his new Maine DOT shirt
Sigbjørn with his new Maine DOT shirt
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"We let him keep the hard hat and sent him this MaineDOT shirt and are delighted to see that it fits! Sigbjørn tells us since he found our hard hat, he's started working with Plastjegerne, an organization dedicated to cleaning up plastic and other debris along the coast. He says the company collects about two tons of trash every day. Let's all work to make his job easier by keeping plastic out of the ocean!"

Pretty neat story, if you ask me. It's awesome that they've all made the effort to stay in touch, and inspiring that he was motivated enough by the experience to seek a career connected to the situation.

You never know what treasures the ocean will uncover. In this case, a helmet became a catalyst for friendship.

Pretty cool.

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