After message in a bottle travels 2,400 miles, meet the family who sent it

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NARRAGANSETT, RI (WPRI) — Have you ever sent a message in a bottle? Well one that was launched from Rhode Island back in 2018 reached its final destination this week.

“Where did this bottle go for two and a half years?” Katie Smith asked Thursday.

The answer: from that pier, it traveled more than 2,400 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to the shores of the Azores.

Smith tells 12 News she is the only member of her family who lives in Rhode Island. Her brother and his three sons visited from Vermont for Thanksgiving 2018, and it was then they decided to write down several messages, stick them in bottles, and cast them from the pier behind Monahan’s Clam Shack in Narragansett.

Fast forward two and a half years, and one of the bottles was found in Portugal by 17-year-old Christian Santos.

“I would like to tell them I found it and where it was, what I was doing, and let them know we’re going to be friends for life,” Santos said.

“My nephew up in Vermont was scrolling through the news and was very surprised to come across a bottle being found,” Smith recalled. “Immediately, he knew when he saw the handwriting it was one of ours that we had thrown off the pier here in Narragansett on Thanksgiving of 2018.”

While the messages weren’t an “SOS to the world,” Smith said her family had fun making them.

“My family has a really clever sense of humor,” she added. “One of my nephews attempted to write one in Morse code. One of my daughters said she was stranded on a tropical island but quickly said that she was truly 10 years.”

The notes all included an email address so that anyone who found a bottle could reach out, but a problem arose.

“Over the course of a year, we lost the ability to remember the password,” Smith admitted. “I’ve always wondered where the other bottles had been found or not, or where they were.”

“My very clever 13-year-old nephew at the time, who does a lot of technology, set up the email account. It’s in his hands to get that password back,” she added.

Smith also said her nephew is in the process of contacting Santos through social media.

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