New Brunswick

Boy's message in bottle to late father relaunched in N.B.

A young boy's message in a bottle to his late father has brought together three families in two provinces after it was found twice in the past two months.

Sam MacKay's message has touched 3 families in 2 provinces

Sam MacKay relaunched his message in a bottle to his late father on Monday. (Facebook)

A young boy's message in a bottle to his late father has brought together three families in two provinces after it was found twice in the past two months.

They all gathered in St. Andrews, N.B., on Monday to relaunch the corked wine bottle.

Sam MacKay, 11, first tossed the bottle into the Bay of Fundy in Port Williams, N.S., on Father's Day, with a message to his father, Paul MacKay, who died in December from diabetes complications.

"Dear Dad, I hope that you are having a great time up there in heaven," it read. "I am glad you are in heaven but I wish you were here with me."

"I miss playing Skylanders with me because Mom is not very good at it. Say 'Hi' to Nana in heaven for me please. I hope you are not upset I haven’t visited your grave yet, but I am just not ready yet."

Found by another boy

Kieran Nicholson, Pat Mowatt and Sam MacKay at Sandy Island. (Facebook)

About two weeks later, the bottle drifted more than 50 kilometres across the bay to Port Greville, N.S., where Kieran Nicholson, 10, of Grand Manan, N.B., was on vacation with his mother.

"I was like quite surprised," said Kieran. "I was pretty excited to open it up. I thought it was more of a story book type thing really."

They headed back to the cottage they were renting, opened the bottle and read the note inside.

Kieran said he felt bad for Sam, so they decided to throw the bottle back in the water.

"The day after the day we found it, we launched it again and then it came back, and then we launched it again and it came back, and it was kind of like that and eventually, my mom launched it off Grand Manan."

Kieran's mother, Suzanne Prior, also got in touch with Sam's mother, Rosann Savidant, through an email address that was on the note.

"We exchanged emails, we also exchanged photos of the boys 'cause both of us had taken a photo — when Sam put it in and then when Kieran found it," said Prior.

"And I kind of thought that would be the end of it. I hoped I’d hear again when the bottle was found again, but I wasn’t sure."

'Unbelievable chances'

From Grand Manan, the bottle drifted past Campobello, almost all the way to Deer Island and eventually washed up on nearby Sandy Island.

On July 28, Pat Mowatt, of St. Andrews, was boating around the inner Bay of Fundy islands when his dog, Sergeant, had to stop to pee.

"I pulled into the shore and let him go for a little run and took a walk up the beach and here was the bottle," said Mowatt.

"And I did see the note inside of it. It’s not the first one that I’ve found, I’ve actually found three. And when I opened it and read the note, I mean the message was pretty touching, pretty powerful, and  luckily there was an email address in it so I was able to carry on with pursuing it."

'They’ve gone so far out of their way to keep Sam’s message in a bottle on its journey and it’s heartwarming in the extreme.'—Rosann Savidant, Sam's mother

Mowatt emailed Sam's mother and organized a trip for everybody back to Sandy Island, where he found the bottle.

"For it to be launched where it was and found once again and released, and to travel the distance that it did, then land on a little pin prick of an island where I happened to pull my boat in on shore that day, it's just unbelievable chances," Mowatt said.

On Monday, Sam walked up the shore, to where the bottle had washed up, and launched it again. He watched as it bobbed along, being pulled away by the strong currents in the area.

"It especially makes me feel closer to my Dad because well, it’s a letter to him and he’s probably reading it as we speak," he said.

His mother, Rosann MacKay, says she has been touched by the experience.

"I can’t even begin to express how wonderful it has made us feel to see that very best side of human nature coming out with the things that Suzanne and Pat have done," she said. "They’ve gone so far out of their way to keep Sam’s message in a bottle on its journey and it’s heartwarming in the extreme.

"It’s just, these are the things that are so healing and so beautiful when you’re going through something that’s difficult and it’s one of the many, many reasons I love living in Atlantic Canada, 'cause these sort of things happen here. So it’s a very meaningful day for us."