Florida Couple Finds 30-Year-Old Message in a Bottle From Scotland
A Florida couple cleaning up debris left by Hurricane Irma stumbled onto something extraordinary. They discovered it was a message in a bottle. After reading the note inside, Ruth and Lee Heunniger were glad they didn't just throw the bottle in the trash. It was sent from a school Scotland with a return address. So, the couple sent a letter back.
The couple's letter let the students know where the bottle had landed after the storm. They ended their correspondence back to the students with a request: the couple wanted to know when they had originally put the bottle in the ocean.
But the Scottish school they wrote to closed back in 2008, the Miami Herald reports. So the postman brought their letter to the area's new school instead, where staff forwarded it to a retired schoolteacher, Fiona Cargill and she recounted how her class project began.
"We just wanted to see how far it would go," she said.
Cargill had led the activity at the school, and found a class photo that showed her students who sent the message dressed as pirates."We decided that perhaps pirates would send messages in bottles," she said. So that's what the students did.
"They covered them with sticky plastic to keep them from getting wet, put them in bottles and then got a fisherman to put them in the North Sea," she recalled.
As it turns out, this class activity took place decades ago, at some point during the 1980s. In her reply to the Huennigers, Cargill wrote, "That bottle was set on its journey more than 30 years ago!!!"
The school is no longer around, Cargill is retired, and her students are nearing 40. Even so, the lesson wasn't lost.
"It's just amazing how things happen and how it could get all the way over here from all the way over there," said Ruth.
Cargill said there are at least three more bottles out there. Their destinations remain unknown.
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