Irish boy visits Quebec after finding message in a bottle cast into St. Lawrence River

Nadine Kalinauskas
July 12, 2013
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The message in a bottle that travelled halfway around the world.

In 2004, two 12-year-old girls from Grande Vallee, Quebec, tossed a message in a bottle into the St. Lawrence River.

Last October, a 10-year-old boy in Ireland found it.

"It was a sunny day…and I wasn’t really looking for anything. I was just walking around and I stepped on something and it was a green 7-Up bottle" Oisin Millea told CTV News.

"I looked and I saw this little map, and I thought it was a treasure map at first. But it turned out to be a message…and it was better than any treasure."

The note, scrawled in French, read:

"Hello, we are two girls who had the idea to launch a bottle into the sea. We are called Charlaine and Claudia. We are both 12 and we live in Montreal. We are on vacation in the Gaspésie, in the village of Grande Vallée. We had the idea to launch a bottle into the sea because we saw a TV show about young people putting messages in bottles. If you find our bottle, tell us when and how you found our bottle. Also tell us your name, age, place of residence."

The note included an email address that no longer works.

Millea translated the French note online and, thanks to help from the media, was able to connect with the senders, identified as Charlaine Dalpé and Claudia Garneau, now in their early 20s, on Skype.

Quebec Tourism then invited the boy and his family to tour the province from where the note first originated.

"He is quite excited to be bringing his family on holidays," Millea's mother, Aoife, told the Irish Examiner earlier this week. "One of the girl’s mothers lives quite close to the hotel we are staying in [in Montreal] so we should meet them then."

She added, "He is bringing the bottle with him."

Millea and his family finally arrived in Montreal last night — and were greeted by the girls who wrote the message.

"I think it’s just going to be really good," he told CTV News this morning. "We got to meet the girls last night and we went to loads of places."

Tourism Ireland has made Dalpé and Garneau a similar offer: a free weeklong trip to Ireland this summer.

Millea is now planning to toss his own message in a bottle into the ocean, CBC News reported.