SALVAGE, NL – Sixteen months and thousands of kilometres later, Devon Maher found out what happened to his message. 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 at 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 message.
“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 bottle 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 the bottle.
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 wrote to let the finder know he was a nine-year-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 on writing 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.