Nfld. & Labrador

Messages in bottles: Musgrave Harbour couple makes friends on foreign shores

A couple from Musgrave Harbour has made a hobby out of tossing bottles with messages into the sea and the latest one has been picked up in Norway.
Message in a bottle sent by Musgrave Harbour family washes up in Norway. (Facebook)

Lynn and Ron McCarthy don't rely on the postal service, or even the world wide web, if they want to send a message overseas.

The couple from Musgrave Harbour, on the northeast coast of Newfoundland, has made a hobby out of tossing bottles with messages into the ocean, and the latest one has been picked up in Norway. 

"It's just fun," said Lynn McCarthy. "We just wonder where they'll end up and if we'll hear from anybody, so it's a little bit exciting when you get an email that tells us they found a bottle."

I had three picked up in Norway in December … One went to Ireland in 6 weeks.- Ron McCarthy

The couple has tossed 24 plastic bottles into the Atlantic Ocean since 2012 with hopes they'd end up on some foreign shore, and they have indeed.

"I had three picked up in Norway in December … One went to Ireland in 6 weeks," said Ron, adding that about half of their messages have been found, mostly in the British Isles and Northern Europe.

The McCarthy's said this latest bottle was apparently found in June, but they only became aware of it recently through social media.

While they didn't know the person who posted the photo, they may have had mutual Facebook friends.

"It wasn't directed to me, I just happened to get a message from somebody here, just with a picture of this on it, saying 'does anybody know who this is, we've been trying to find this fellow?'," Lynn told CBC's St.John's Morning Show.

Name, address and a smile

She said the notes contain their names, an email address and a smiley face, which always faces outward when the note is folded.

For added protection from the elements, Lynn said, they've "started putting them in a plastic Ziploc bag inside the bottle so it doesn't get wet."

"Actually the one from Norway, that's how it took so long for them to to find us because it was smudgy in there and they couldn't really read what it was."

We have to have the wind right … It has to be away form the land so it'll take the bottle somewhere.- Lynn McCarthy

The couple has had correspondence with several people who have found their bottles and enjoy hearing from them.

Lynn said two of the bottles were found in England — the first by a couple walking on a beach, the other by a 12-year-old boy.

"They send us an email and let us know and then we usually send a few pictures back and forth on Facebook just to show them where we live and they let us know where they live," said Lynn.

The McCarthy's have had a few conversations with the couple from England, and have corresponded with the 12-year-old boy's mother, adding that Ron made some wooden trinkets that were sent to him.

In this age of technology, sending messages in bottles is something the McCarthy's say they enjoy doing and will continue to do, as long as the wind is in the right direction.

"We have to have the wind right of course, because it has to be away form the land so it'll take the bottle somewhere," said Lynn.

with files from the St. John's Morning Show