Rhode Island Bottle Message Floats All The Way To Portugal

Em Unravelling

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Christian Santos, who found the bottlePeople

Christian Santos, a 17-year-old from Portugal who regularly collects bottles and cans from the beach and sea near his home in Portugal, made an interesting discovery recently. While spear fishing near Sao Jorge (an island off Portugal in the Azores), he spotted what appeared to be a regular energy drink bottle. On closer inspection, though, he got a surprise.

A note, written in orange marker pen on an index card, shoved inside the bottle and sealed read:

It is Thanksgiving. I am 13 and visiting family in Rhode Island. I am from Vermont. If found email messageinbottle18@gmail.com

If the note had been posted into the sea in the sealed bottle at the end of 2018 (the date in the email address), it would have been bobbing about in the water for nearly 3 years when Santos plucked it from the sea in Portugal. And it had traveled some 2,400 miles from its original launching point in New England, US.

Santos was able to read the note as he speaks English, having lived until the age of 5 in Boston, Massachusetts - not far, in fact, from where the bottle started its journey. This startling coincidence as well as the apparent length of time between the bottle's launch and its discovery (and given that the email address was probably not a regularly-checked one, especially by now), led to his mother, Molly Santos, doing a shout-out on Facebook to try to find someone who knew the bottle's original sender.

Hey guys!!! So my son was diving here in the Azores and he found a bottle floating he grabbed it and there was a note in it!!! We tried emailing the person no response so if you know someone who lives in Vermont ask them to share this so we can find this kid it’s so cool how far it came!!! - Molly Santos

Christian Santos was hoping to find the person who launched the bottle into the sea in 2018. By the dates and ages given, he could tell they are almost contemporaries, and in an interview with WCVB he said that he believed he'd be "friends for life" with the person who sent the note across the sea.

The Facebook post bore results, and Santos has now been connected with Sean Smith, the original sender of the bottle. It had been launched as part of a Thanksgiving activity organized by his family on their trip in 2018 to Narragansett, where they all launched messages in bottles into the sea, but the chances of it actually reaching a destination seemed remote.

But this one did, and Sean and Christian have now spoken on Zoom, closing the circle. It remains to be seen if they will, in fact, be friends for life.

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