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From sea to Skype: Oisin meets the girls behind message in a bottle

IT's a story that has captured the imagination of people on both sides of the Atlantic.

Two 12-year-old French-Canadian girls never imagined that their message in a bottle would end up in the hands of Oisin Millea (10) on the other side of the world eight years after it set sail.

The girls had seen the idea on TV and decided to write a note before placing it in a two-litre Sprite bottle. They sent it on its way along the St Lawrence River in Quebec while on holidays there in 2004.

After a 4,000km journey, their message came ashore in Ireland safely.

Yesterday the identity of the girls was revealed as Charlaine Dalpe and Claudia Garneau.

The two women, who are now 20, told the Irish Independent they remained friends to this day and were "excited" at Oisin's discovery.

"We spoke to him and it is really exciting," said Charlaine.

Oisin found the bottle at Passage East, Co Waterford, last week after high tides left the beach strewn with litter from the sea.

Thanks to modern technology, the schoolboy was able to see the girls on his computer screen while talking to them on Skype yesterday.

He quizzed the girls on why they put the message in the bottle in the first place.

"Because we saw it on TV," Charlaine replied, adding: "We wanted to see if anybody would find it".

The young women hope to visit Passage East -- to see first-hand where their bottle ended up.

"I was talking to the girls and they remember the day they sent the message in the bottle like it was yesterday," Oisin revealed.

"Everyone here is going crazy about me. I've had newspapers and radio stations calling and everyone in school is asking me questions. Everyone is saying 'Oh my God, you're going to be famous'," said Oisin.

The youngster's mum, Aoife Millea, who was walking on the beach with Oisin when he found the bottle, said the family had been "inundated" with calls from worldwide media.

"I was joking that if Oisin finds another one, he should throw it back. But of course, we're thrilled. It's great fun and a positive story."

The message found by Oisin was written in French and tells how the girls were on holidays in the Grande Vallee region of Quebec.

The note was perfectly intact and "bone dry" after making its way out of the estuary, past Newfound-land, across the Atlantic, up the Suir estuary before ending up on the beach in Passage East.

Irish Independent