Newfoundland student’s message in a bottle found in France, draws scientific interest

When 10-year-old Devon Maher gave his father a bottle with a message inside to drop into the North Atlantic, he didn’t know if anything would come of it. 

He gave it to his dad to release into the ocean during a crab fishing trip off the coast of Salvage, Newfoundland over a year ago. 

Then last week, the bottle was actually found by a woman in western France who, through the power of social media, sought him out to let him know his message was received.

Salvage Newfoundland Plouarzel Beach France

It took 18 months for a message in a bottle to make it’s way from the waters off Salvage, Newfoundland to Plouarzel Beach in western France. (Google Maps)

“They were very excited about finding the bottle, and I’ve read in some of her comments that she would love to come to Newfoundland and come to Salvage,” Devon’s mother Emily told the St. John’s Morning Show on Monday.

“She and her husband had been walking on the beach, I think it was a resort. They were walking on the beach with their dog and came across the bottle.”

Devon Maher message in a bottle

Devon Maher with his message before putting it in a glass bottle and having it dropped in the ocean back in May 2016. (Submitted by Emily Maher)

Devon was inspired after hearing his father say something about a message in a bottle one night, and brought the idea to his teacher – who thought it would be a good writing exercise for him.

After writing a short note and sealing it inside a glass bottle, he gave it to his father when he went out to fish crab back on May 11, 2016.

Message received

Then 18 months later, someone wrote Emily Maher to let her know that a French woman named Amélie Philip had posted in a Salvage area Facebook group looking to track down Devon, to let him know that his message was found.

In a post on her own profile, Philip said she found the bottle in an area known as Plouarzel Beach.

“We managed to find little Devon thanks to your shares, thank you very much,” she wrote in the post.

Crab fishing boat Maher

Devon’s father dropped the message in a bottle into North Atlantic from this boat, which he uses to fish for crab. (Submitted by Emily Maher)

Philip and the Maher family have since been contacted by journalists from France and Canada who want to know the story, and the two families have chatted through Facebook and talked about how much they would love to visit each other’s homes someday.

Unplanned science experiment

In the photo that Philip posted after the discovery, a plant growth can be seen hanging from the top of the bottle.

First the Mahers thought it was just a decoration that Philip had put on top after she discovered it, but Philip said the plant had actually grown on the bottle at some point during its journey across the Atlantic.

Once the story got out there about the bottle, a scientist interested in the growth actually called the Mahers to get more information about the bottle.

“He was trying to ask me about where the bottle had landed, how long he figured it had been at sea and how long it had taken for the plant to grow on the bottle,” Emily said.

Newfoundland student’s message in a bottle found in France, draws scientific interest

Aggregated from: CBC | Newfoundland and Labrador News

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