'It's just crazy': Boy's message in a bottle tossed out to sea in N.L. lands in Europe

Justin Greene received an out-of-classroom lesson in geography and probability last week when he learned that a message in a bottle he tossed into the ocean had made it to the other side of the Atlantic.

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Last August, the 12-year-old Ottawa resident decided to throw a message in a bottle into the ocean during a visit to Cape Spear, N.L. – the easternmost point in North America.

His grandfather encouraged him to stick a message in an old plastic bottle and put it out to sea.

“He thought it would … be cool,” Justin said. “When you throw out a bottle in the ocean, (to) have it travel so far and someone else find it.”

Of course, that rarely happens.

“I didn’t think anybody would find it,” Justin told CTV Ottawa. “I just thought it was something to do just for fun.”

Back home in Ottawa, Justin didn’t give it a second thought until this past week, when his father received an unexpected call from across the Atlantic.

“He said, ‘I found his message in a bottle,’” Brian Greene told CTV Ottawa. “And then I put the phone on hold and and I told Justin, and Justin screamed with delight and ran over to the phone.”

Justin said he was “really excited” and “surprised” to hear the news, adding he was “not aware of how far it went.”

In just six months, the bottle managed to travel all the way from Cape Spear to Alderney, a small island in the English Channel. Total distance: 3,642 kilometres.

Making the journey more incredible is the fact that Alderney is not even five kilometres long.

The bottle was found by Angus MacIntyre, a local civil servant. In a phone interview with CTV, MacIntyre said it was a “fantastic” discovery.

“I suppose it would mean more to Justin because he sent the letter,” MacIntyre said.

Justin is indeed, still blown away by the nautical journey.

“It’s just crazy,” he said with a smile.

With files from CTV Ottawa’s Eric Longley


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