What are the chances of getting back a message in a bottle you have thrown into the ocean as a kid? You’re probably thinking that it won’t be returned to you. After all, the ocean is so big and your message in a bottle could end up literally anywhere. But for a pair of schoolgirls in Canada, who are now grown-ups, the message in a bottle they have sent adrift into the St Lawrence River ten years ago was successfully returned to them, thanks to a boy living in Ireland.
Oisin Millea from Passage East, Co. Waterford, was just one year old when he and his family found the bottled note owned by Canadian schoolgirls Claudia Garneau and Charlaine Dalpe. Almost a decade later, Oisin has returned the note to its authors after it has travelled 5,100 kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean before ending up in Co Waterford.
Oisin, now aged ten, recounted how he found the message in a bottle. “It was a sunny day,” he said, “and I wasn’t really looking for anything. I was just walking around and I stepped on something and it was a green 7-Up bottle. I looked and I saw this little map, and I thought it was a treasure map at first. But it turned out to be a message… and it was better than any treasure.”
The note was written in French and the Milleas had to translate it to understand what it was saying. After translating the message, Oisin and his family managed to find Claudi and Charlaine with help from the media.
Oisin, as well as his parents Aoife and Joseph and his younger sister Sarah, travelled to Montreal, Quebec and Grand Vallee on the invitation of Pascal Berub, the tourism minister of Quebec. The Milleas’ 12-day all-expenses-paid visit came with VIP passes to all the main attractions in the city, including the Montreal Aquarium and an international fireworks festival. Upon his arrival, the boy also appeared on a radio show to share his amazing story with the listeners of Canada AM. He also kept a Twitter diary to let his Twitter followers know about his experiences in Canada.
When Oisin and his family returned from their vacation in Canada, it was Claudia and Charlaine’s turn to explore Ireland. The former schoolgirls, who are now in their 20s, were expected to visit the exact spot where their message was discovered by Oisin.