Message in a Bottle

I don’t know how I forgot to publish this last month. On October 23, the Ledger published the heartwarming story of a message in a bottle. On a Bahamas vacation in 2003 three Lakeland children had sent the bottle on it’s journey. In October the family received word that their bottle had washed up in France. The Ledger article mentioned the French couple had included an article on the discovery from a local newspaper.

Thanks to my favorite bilingual librarian — and wonderful wife — guess who has that article text for you?

What follows is the translated text of De la Floride à Saint-Pabu : la bouteille traverse l’Atlantique from the August 13, 2006 edition of Le Télégramme:

From Florida to Saint-Pabu : the bottle crosses the Atlantic

A bottle in the sea, which the famous Brittany seamen may have crossed on their various oceanic trips. Thrown to see on July 13 2003 by the Stephens kids, the bottle took three years and 23 days to reach one of the most beautiful Brittany coasts, the Saint-Pabu coast.

A 8.500 km trip, at least

Gilles and Eveline de la Courcelle are from from Lattes (near Montpellier); they love Brittany and come from time to time to find cooler weather and quiet between Lampaul-Ploudalmézeau and Saint-Pabu. Friday morning, they were strolling on the beach between Coulourarn and Korn ar Gazel when suddenly their eyes fell on a bottle covered with algae and shells. A nice bottle, carefully seal with wax and bearing the brand of a Chilean wine.

Back in their vacation home in Lampaul-Ploudalmézeau, the couple carefully took out the wax seal by melting it and discovered, inside, a message and one dollar bill, all in perfect shape. This after 8.500 km of sea conditions, not to mention numerous rocks.

A response to the children

The message is written in English; it comes from Lakeland, in Florida, near the Bahamas. What was written: “This bottle that you just found is part of an experimentation program on water currents and communication. You who have found it, be so kind to answer me along with the date of your find”.

Gilles and Eveline will, of course, respond in a few days to the Stephens kids and will add to their letter documents on Saint-Pabu and its region, not to mention an aerial photograph of the beach where their bottle has ended its great trip. They will bring this bottle with them to Lattes, which will remain a small treasure to them.


Note: The map illustration is not the exact route. Interesting tidbit: The French use a period where we use a comma. So 8.500 km is 8,500 km or 5,281.655 miles.

Plea to the Ledger: Please ask your reporters never to quote Wikipedia. Even they are looking for a citation for that Columbus story.