Maya’s marine mail
Cable station worker picks up sea-mail contact
The Heart’s Content Cable Station picked up an unusual message several weeks ago. It didn’t show up in Morse Code through the station’s renowned transAtlantic cable, the first to link Europe and North America.
Instead, this particular message was by a far older method, and took a much longer time to travel a much shorter distance.
“I saw a story (about bottled messages) on the news and wanted to try it.
I was surprised that someone had found it.”
— Maya Dalley
Still, Tolson Rendell said he was touched when he opened it.
Rendell was mowing the grass that overlooks the beach across from the station when he spotted the two-litre pop bottle washed up on the shore about 150 feet from where the first successful transAtlantic cable was landed in 1866.
Part of Rendell’s duties at the station, where he’s worked since 1991, is ensuring the beach surrounding the historic cable is free of litter and debris.
He noticed the bottle had a piece of paper inside.
“It was well taped up; it wasn’t even wet,” he said.
He opened it to find a message dated July 29, 2011, just two days after the station had celebrated its 145th anniversary.
It was from a nine-year-old girl who lives in Paradise.
Part of the letter reads: “My name is Maya. I live in Paradise … please get back to me as soon as you can.”
“Maya” had forgotten to include a return address or phone number. But news travels lightning fast in a small town and soon she and her parents Linda and John Dalley were located.
“I saw a story (about bottled messages) on the news and wanted to try it. I was surprised that someone had found it,” Maya said, adding she was also surprised to find out the short distance it had travelled. It hadn’t gone all the way from Paradise to Ireland, or even from Paradise to Heart’s Content.
It turns out the little girl had been visiting her grandmother, Vera George, when she launched the message last summer — from the Heart’s Content lighthouse less than a nautical mile away from the cable station.
But the lengthy time and short travel distance hasn’t dampened Maya’s enthusiasm for sea mail. “I’m going to try it again the next time I go out there,” she said.
“I’d encourage other kids to try it,” Rendell added. “Who knows where their message will end up.”
Tolson Rendell discovered this message in a bottle washed up on the shore near the Heart’s Content Cable Station on June 17.