Belfast couple Rita Simmonds and Ciaran Marron found a message in a glass bottle on the sands of Magheraroarty beach in Co Donegal earlier this year, according to Belfast Telegraph. The message was sent on its journey by a pair of American friends in 2019. Sadly, one of those friends has since passed away, making the discovery of the bottle bittersweet for the remaining boy.
Sasha Yonyak and his pal Wayne Smith originally dropped the message in a bottle into the ocean along with two dollar bills. Although it was Yonyak who wrote the note, both boys were present for the launch of the bottle. Alas, only Yonyak was still alive when it was found. Smith passed away in August of last year.
The couple who found the bottle brought it home and dried it out in front of their fireplace before attempting to read the message on its brittle yellowing paper.
Yonyak had written his phone number on the message in a bottle, asking the finder to call him. Unfortunately, when the kind couple who found the bottle attempted to call him, they learned the number had been disconnected. That didn't stop them.
The finders found the boy's family through Facebook, and so began the process of meeting in person. Simmonds and Marron invited the lad and his dad to Ireland, and with the help of a successful crowdfunding campaign, he was able to accept their offer.
Yonyak got to see the exact spot where his message in a bottle was found. He marked the spot with some rocks. He even got to swim in the ocean and view Jupiter and Saturn through a telescope. Simmonds explained why the boy's journey was so meaningful:
It was an emotional trip for Sasha who is grieving the loss of his friend Wayne who passed in August last year. He felt the bottle locked in so many memories.
Yonyak's dad accompanied him on his trip to see the place where his bottle landed. He explained why he and his son made the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ireland:
The story of the message in a bottle came to a happy end with a 10-day trip to Ireland [...] It was a new experience for us. A lot of people kept asking us if we were ever going to meet the people who found the bottle. We took it as a chance to visit a new country and for Sasha to see a new place.
Yonyak and his dad's adventure didn't end there. With the help of money raised through crowdfunding, they were also able to visit Dublin and London. Hopefully, the journey helped the boy process his grief over losing his friend.
Can you imagine how many messages in bottles have been tossed into the sea? Vox has the answer:
And since the early 1900s, an estimated six million bottled messages have been released at sea, 500,000 of which are attributed to oceanographers.
What would you do if you found a message in a bottle? Would you take it home or toss it in the trash? Comments are welcome.