A fisherman in Spain found a new long-distance pen pal—a teenage girl from Cumberland, Maine—after he discovered a message in a bottle she tossed into the Atlantic Ocean three years ago, ABC News reports.
In June 2013, Terra Gallo, now 14, and her younger sister, Nola, were visiting their aunt on Monhegan Island, an isolated island that sits nearly 14 miles off the coast of Maine. The two decided to fill around 10 bottles with handwritten messages, and included their aunt’s P.O. Box address just in case anyone found one and wanted to reply.
“We thought there was slight possibility that someone would find them, but it was just a fun little experiment,” Terra told ABC News. “I don’t think we were expecting something this big to come out of it.”
The sisters released the letters into the Atlantic, and forgot about them until last week, when their aunt received a missive with a return address from Spain. Terra gave her the go-ahead to open it, and the aunt texted them a picture of the letter. According to ABC News, it began:
Hello Terra, My name is Iuaki. I’m from Spain and last year I found the bottle you threw in the sea when I was fishing for hake with my brother Mitael and friends in the Gulf of Baiscay to the north of the fishing port of Armintza (Basque Country). In the bottle was your letter. It travel from Monhegan Island to our hands, a distance of 5,200 km more or less. But the bottle didn’t travel alone, a bunch of barnacles hung from it. We found it on May 18, 2015.
Iuaki said he complied with Terra’s request to put his own message inside the bottle with hers and return it to the ocean. “I hope you are as thrilled to receive this letter as I was when I found your bottle and I hope we’ll receive more answers when I return the bottle to the sea,” he wrote.
Terra studied maps of ocean currents, and thinks the bottle drifted more than 3000 miles from the Gulf Stream to the North Atlantic Drift and the Canary Current. "At first, we were really surprised, wow, all the way to Spain, and when we looked at ocean current then it made sense that it went that way," Terra told NBC affiliate WCSH.
Iuaki isn’t the only person to serendipitously encounter a message in a bottle. Earlier this year, a 5-year-old California boy discovered a 27-year-old message in a bottle, sent in 1988 by a 10-year-old boy named Chris. And there are countless other true-life tales of individuals finding love, friends, and even immigration sponsors via letters found at sea.
Learn more about Terra's incredible story via the video above, courtesy of NBC affiliate WCSH in Portland, Maine.
[h/t ABC News]
Banner image courtesy of iStock.