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Setting sail a sentimental boat: Brier Island grandfather, grandson launch buoy boat into the ocean

Tom Albright and his grandson, Tegan Theriault made a boat out of a buoy and set sail to it off Brier Island. They attached a note, hoping whoever finds it will track the boats movements on their Facebook page.
Tom Albright and his grandson, Tegan Theriault made a boat out of a buoy and set sail to it off Brier Island. They attached a note, hoping whoever finds it will track the boats movements on their Facebook page. - Amanda Doucette

BRIER ISLAND, NS- Tom Albright use to be a lobster fisherman before he got sick, but his grandson Tegan Theriault has carried on his love for the ocean.

“He’s a real beachcomber,” Albright said.

When Albright was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, an uncurable lung disease, he wasn’t able to continue fishing.

So Albright and Theriault decided to start making their own fishing boats, out of buoys.

“It started as a way for us to spend more time together while we can,” said Albright.

They’ve made over 100 boats in Albright’s Brier Island home, since they started the project two years ago.

In the summer months, Tegan pedals his golf cart wagon full of buoy-boats down to the shore and sells them to tourists.

One of the first boats they handmade, they named Mr. TNT, representing Tegan’s initials and his favorite song, TNT by ACDC.

“I was excited,” said Theriault, who is nine years old.

But Mr. TNT was a special boat.

On March 25, Albright and Theriault set the boat off to sail the ocean from the shore in Brier Island.

“We knew we wanted to do it for a while, but we didn’t get a chance to set it afloat until this year.”

Tegan Theriault with Mr. TNT on March 25.
Tegan Theriault with Mr. TNT on March 25.

They tied a message in a bottle to the buoy-boat with a note, asking anyone who finds the message to contact them through their Facebook page. Mr TNT, Let’s Keep This Boat Afloat.

“We sat and watched it float out of sight,” Albright said.

They put a spike in the bottom of the boat, so it should stay upright the whole journey, they suspect.

The pair waited for the perfect wind to put the boat in the water. They think if the Northeast wind carries it right, it could end up in the U.K somewhere.

“As long as nothing happens to it along the way or no fishing boats pick it up.”

They’re hoping if anyone finds it, they will as well let the boat go and they can continue tracking the boats movements around the globe.

They can’t wait for someone to find it.

“It’ll be nice if someone finds it before it’s too late, but if not, Tegan can keep track of it for us,” Albright said.  

Doctors told Albright someone with IPF has a life expectancy of three to five years.

“I have good days and bad days but what can you do.”

Theriault always enjoys spending time with his grandfather but especially enjoys making boats with him.

“Because he’s fun,” he said.

Albright and Theriault plan to make another boat soon to see if they have more luck at tracking them with multiple in the ocean.

But they’re already working on another project.

They are taking old wine corks and crafting them into buoys and painting them different colors.

“My favorite part of it all is spending time with my grandson of course.”

Track Mr. TNT's journey HERE

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