A schoolboy in the Waterford village of Passage East has found a message in a bottle, eight years after it was launched into the Atlantic in Canada.
Oisin Millea, nine, found the handwritten note inside a green plastic 7-Up bottle last Thursday in the aftermath of high tide flooding, more than 5,100km from where it entered the sea.
The “message dans une bouteille” is written in French and was wrapped in a hair bobbin, and efforts are now under way to contact the authors — two girls from Montreal who were aged 12 when they threw the bottle into the sea while on holiday back in Jun 2004.
High tides last Wednesday caused local flooding in Passage East, but once the water drained away plenty of debris was left along the beach, where Oisin made his discovery.
His mother, Aoife Millea, a 31-year-old photographer who lives in Crooke near Passage East, said Oisin chanced across the bottle while she was taking photographs of the area after the flooding.
“My son was over looking around — hundreds of bits and pieces were washed up on the beach,” she said.
“We are always down there and the kids just potter around. He found it and opened it himself and then he ran over because it was in French. He was very excited.”
Ms Millea admitted her French was useless and that they used Google to translate the message. In the message, the girls said they came from the village of Grand Valley.
Yesterday, Oisin’s fourth-class teacher and pupils were investigating Grand Valley online.
Ms Millea said: “It is not unlike Passage East.” Likewise, the point of entry into the water for the green plastic bottle is similar to its point of discovery.
“It would have been an estuary where they threw it in,” Ms Millea said, adding that children in Passage East Primary School were “amazed” at the similarity between their home town and Grand Valley.
Locating those behind the message is proving more difficult.
With just first names to go on, Ms Millea sent an email to the address mentioned in the note, but received a “message failed” response.
The family are now exploring other options and intend to contact the Montreal authorities through their official Facebook page for help. The primary school is also using its contacts in Quebec to try to solve the mystery.