Message In a Bottle Makes It From Oregon to Hawaii

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For pollution’s sake, don’t go rushing to your nearest ocean shore and start tossing note-filled bottles into the seas in search of someone on the other side. But then again, it just might work.

An Oregon boy had that thought last year when he heaved a bottle over the side of his grandfather’s boat. A year later, he received the improbable: a response to his message.

The 10-year-old boy chucked the bottle into Winchester Bay on the southern Oregon coast last summer while on a fishing trip. He thought he heard the bottle smash on the boat, so he couldn’t even be sure his attempt reached the open sea. But a 9-year-old girl found it bobbing in a tide pool a mere 2,000 miles away in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

(MORE: Sweetest Story Ever: Message in Bottle Crosses the Atlantic)

The note scrawled by Thomas Craig, now 11, of Silverton, Ore., says: “Dear finder of my message, My name is Thomas and I live in Oregon. I’m ten years old and this week I’m salmon fishing deep in the ocean. I would like to hear from you.”

Trinity Ballesteros tells West Hawaii Today that she saw the bottle and immediately thought someone must be in trouble. She opened the bottle with friends and family surrounding her, just as curious as she was to see what was inside.

So when Ballesteros read the note, she enlisted the help of her mother to decipher the email address on the paper and reach out to Craig.

Instead of tossing bottles back and forth in the ocean, the two plan to exchange emails. What a modern twist on an old-fashioned story.

MORE: To Russia With Love: After 24 Years, Message in Bottle Answered

Tim Newcomb is a contributor for TIME. Find him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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