Message in a bottle: Letter dropped in Arctic Ocean found in Ireland
Saskia Vaisey, a Canadian student, drops a message in a bottle into the Arctic Ocean. The message was recently discovered in Ireland. (Students on Ice)
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, June 26, 2014 6:23PM EDT
It took a glass bottle with a water-tight seal, a little push from Arctic Ocean currents, and nearly a full year to bring Saskia Vaisey and Eva Hart together.
Vaisey, 20, is a Canadian student who took part in an Arctic study program last summer. On July 21, 2013, somewhere between Nunavut and Greenland, she wrote a personal message introducing herself and describing the icebergs and Arctic birds around her.
Then she sealed the note in a bottle, and dropped it into the frigid waters.
Almost a year later, Hart, 49, discovered the bottle on a beach “behind Claddaghduff in Ireland.” She emailed Vaisey, who woke up to the message on Thursday morning.
“Dear Saskia,” reads the message, “It was so nice, that you wrote a personal note!! Please apologize my bad English, but I am German.”
Hart goes on to explain how she found the bottle. “I'd seen an old bottle, but there had been something inside!! It was really exciting!”
Vaisey said she felt the same way about the interaction.
“It was really exciting to see how far the bottle can travel through areas that are challenging for ships,” she said. “And how that tiny bottle can survive that whole journey and find its way to an entirely different coastline.”
Vaisey sent the bottle as part of The Drift Bottle Project, an initiative organized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Project participants record the geographic co-ordinates of where they drop their messages. When the bottles are found, the discoverers are encouraged to contact Fisheries and Oceans and report the co-ordinates of where the bottle ended up. This helps track ocean flow and confirms or disproves theories about patterns of currents.
Vaisey dropped her bottle alongside about 50 other students who were participating in a two-week-long trip. The journey brought together high school students from around the world to learn about the environment and social issues in the Arctic. Two other Students in Ice expeditons also dropped bottles last summer, sending a total of almost 150 messages into the water.
"Being able to do this timeless activity and pair it with scientific research is fascinating for them," Shirley Manh, manager of expedition logistics at Students on Ice, said. "It really brings to life the fact that the ocean is a living thing and that it's moving and breathing and it carried their bottles all that way."
So far, three students from Vaisey's trip have received replies to their bottled messages. The other two responses came last month from an Irish housewife and a Scottish mother who was in Ireland for her daughter’s surfing camp. Both women discovered their bottles on Marble Hill Beach in Ireland.
Vaisey wasn’t sure her bottle would survive the journey. The Drift Bottle Project website says that only about one in every 25 bottles is found. Most take on water and sink, wash up in remote areas, or are buried in the sand.
The odds make Vaisey’s experience even more special, she said.
“It’s just such a random connection between two people in totally different areas and this tiny bottle can connect you across this massive distance,” she said. “It’s crazy to imagine.”