Mes­sage in a bot­tle trav­els from N.L. to France

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - BY ADAM RAN­DELL

Sixteen months and thou­sands of kilo­me­tres later, Devon Ma­her found out what hap­pened to his mes­sage in a bot­tle.

It ended up in France. The 10-year-old Sal­vage boy, then nine, thought it would be a good idea for his class to take on a mes­sage in a bot­tle project, as his fa­ther Duane could drop it into the sea while on a fish­ing trip.

Teacher Al­li­son Sam­son at Holy Cross School thought the idea would make a great writ­ing project, so stu­dents brought in their bot­tles and be­gan writ­ing their mes­sages.

“It was an awe­some way to in­volve the fam­i­lies, and it was some­thing the stu­dents be­came re­ally in­ter­ested in,” Sam­son said. “It was much more in­ter­ac­tive than just a ba­sic writ­ing test in the class­room that the stu­dents have no per­sonal con­nec­tion to.”

In May 2016 the bot­tles went over the side.

And as the months passed on, Devon and his friends would think about the lit­tle bot­tles trav­el­ling on the waves.

“Ev­ery now and again I would think about it,” he said. “Some of my friends thought the bot­tles may have sunk.”

But that all changed on Nov. 8 when a so­cial me­dia ac­count be­long­ing to Devon’s mother – Emily – started blow­ing up. Peo­ple she had never met were mes­sag­ing her about one of the bot­tles.

It had been dis­cov­ered ear­lier that day along the shores of Plouarzel Beach, in Bre­tany, France, by Amélie and Math­ieu Philip, who had taken their dog for a walk.

Amélie said her hus­band, Math­ieu, came across the bot­tle, the mes­sage still per­fectly pre­served.

Devon had writ­ten to let the finder know he was a nineyear-old boy from Sal­vage who likes to go crab fish­ing with his fa­ther, and the weather has been good and bad. It also in­cluded a re­turn ad­dress.

Hav­ing never found a mes­sage in a bot­tle be­fore, the cou­ple was thrilled to have made the dis­cov­ery, as it brought about some cu­rios­ity.

“There was no date inside, so we were won­der­ing when it could have been sent,” she said.

Hav­ing only heard of New­found­land by name, Amélie said, “it’s amaz­ing” to think of the jour­ney the bot­tle had taken to end up on the shores of France.

The Philips in­tended to write Devon back, but the power of so­cial me­dia took over be­fore they could re­ply.

“I posted (pic­tures) to Face­book for friends, and the re­sponse was amaz­ing, with peo­ple shar­ing (the post), it’s ex­tra­or­di­nary,” she said. “And in only five or six hours Devon’s fam­ily was in­formed.”

The Philips are look­ing for­ward to chat­ting with the youth, but will choose a faster form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion to do so – through on­line mes­sag­ing.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ten-year-old Devon Ma­her of Sal­vage holds up a bot­tle to recre­ate how his fa­ther put his mes­sage in a bot­tle to sea last May. It was found in France on Nov. 8.

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