Twenty-one years ago, a 4th grader named Emily Hwaung put a message in a plastic bottle and sent it sailing on the ocean near Seattle via a guy with a boat. The bottle was released along with several others as part of a class project. Emily’s bottle was recently picked up in Alaska by Merle Brandell while he was walking his dog in his fishing village town, Nelson Lagoon. Due to his diligent pursuits, Brandell was able to locate Emily, who is now Emily Shih, and well past 4th grade. At age 30, Emily doesn’t remember the bottle project all that much but is tickled her message has come full circle and is not still part of the ocean’s pollution.
The article chronicling this latest bottle-sent /bottle-found story mentions how rare it is for bottles dropped into the ocean to ever be found. This makes me feel even more gleeful about my own experience. The summer after I graduated from undergraduate school I was taking a night ferry from France to Ireland as part of a two-months plus backpacking trip.
After sharing a bottle of wine with fellow travelers, we decided to write a message, seal it in a bottle and send it on a journey. I can’t remember what we wrote–or if we felt guilty throwing a bottle overboard, but I do know that some time later I received a letter from France. A couple had been walking along the beach and found it. I can’t remember which beach or how long it took for the bottle to be found. I’m not even sure where the note is. I did keep it, but with moves and travels, the note is buried in a box somewhere. You’ll just have to trust me that it’s there. I wonder if Emily knows where her 4th grade teacher is. I’m sure the teacher would be thrilled to know that this project did end up with a successful ending despite the other bottles still out there. [via AP]