Belfast Telegraph

Message in a bottle lands on Irish beach after eight-year passage from Canada

By Eimear Ni Bhraonain

After eight years and 4,000km, a message in a plastic bottle has finally washed up.

Two young French-Canadian girls on holidays wrote a note before rolling it into a green two-litre Sprite plastic bottle and sending it on its way along the St Lawrence River in Quebec.

Their message, dated July 6, 2004 and written in French, was discovered by a 10-year-old boy while he was out "looking for treasure" on the beach in Passage East, Co Waterford.

Oisin Millea made the finding after high tides and strong winds left the strand at Passage East strewn with bottles.

The note, signed by Charlene and Claudia who say they are 12 years of age, tells how the pair from Montreal are on holidays in the village of Grand Vallee in the region of Gaspesie.

Although the girls only had a plastic Sprite bottle, the note was perfectly intact and bone-dry after making its way out of Quebec, past Newfoundland, across the Atlantic, and up the Suir estuary before ending up in Passage East.

Oisin's mum Aoife Millea said her son was "super-excited" at the discovery.

"Oisin's always looking for treasure and he happened upon it on the grass along the beach. He eventually got it opened and couldn't believe it," she explained.

Oisin brought the message in to Passage East National School where his principal Greg Scanlon translated the note.

It detailed how the girls were on holidays and were curious to find out if their message was ever found.

The girls were insistent that whoever found the bottle should let them know.

They wrote that even if the finder did not have access to the web at home, they should go to an internet cafe to send a message that the bottle had been found.

However, the email address they gave appears to be no longer in use because so far Oisin has heard nothing back.

Mr Scanlon showed the pupils photographs of the region from which the message originated.

They are now trying to track down the senders of the message. The ages on the note indicate that Charlene and Claudia are now likely to be around 20 years old. "We haven't been able to find out who the girls are as we don't have their second names but maybe somebody out there will know. It'd be great to tell them we found their message eight years after," said Oisin.

Belfast Telegraph

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