Connor Corbett-Rice received an astonishing email last week: a response to his message in a bottle, cast into the ocean three years ago off the shores of Shelter Island, N.Y., for a school project.
"I forgot about the entire project," Corbett-Rice, 15, said. "I imagined where it would be found, but I never imagined the Bahamas."
That's where the bottle washed up shore, more than 1,000 miles from its origin in New York. Teacher Jack Reardon, who has been assigning the project for nine years as a way to teach students about ocean currents, said what is so remarkable about the bottle being found there is that it's nearly impossible due to the way ocean currents form.
"I didn't even believe it when these folks contacted me," Reardon said. "I usually will get a response to the bottles within 24 hours from what I presume to be just pleasure boaters going by. The farthest response has been from Rhode Island, which isn't very far. I've never had a response come back from a legitimate far off distance. I think the bottle made a long, long clockwise journey and some westwardly moving storm or something blew it up on the beach where they found it."
Andrew and Carol Gracie, who live in the Bahamas, were out for a walk on a private island when they stumbled upon the bottle on a deserted beach.
"Halfway along the first crescent I immediately spotted a large clear bottle with notes inside," Andrew Gracie said. "After reading the note, we emailed Connor and Jack Reardon detailing how and where we found the bottle. Needless to say, they were astounded to get our email."
Connor's note started off saying, "Hi, my name is Connor. I live on Shelter Island … I have a younger brother named Mitchell. He is 8. I also have a younger sister named Angelina. She is 5. My dog is a puggle named Boo. If you find this, please write back."
"It was shocking [to receive a response]," Connor said.
Gracie praised teacher Jack Reardon for the fun adventure. "In today's world of instant communication, it's great to hear that some of our teachers are still able to successfully stimulate our youth with some old-fashioned classroom experiments that will further stimulate them to seek answers to time honored questions."
- Jack Reardon