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Message in a bottle creates bond across Atlantic

East Lyme —On a windy October day in 2010, Jerry Pope decided on a lark to send a message in a bottle.

"It was something I always wanted to do," he said. "I was curious to see if someone would actually find it."

Pope took the label off a two-liter ginger ale bottle and enclosed a note. He said he wrote something to the effect of "Hi, this is Jerry Pope. I hope this note makes someone happy."

"I then wrote my address, closed the bottle, and tossed it into the bay," he said. He released the bottle at the end of his street, Sea Crest Avenue in Black Point, into the western end of Niantic Bay in Long Island Sound.

"The wind was really whipping," Pope said. "It had to be gusting 30 to 40 miles. It looked like it got stuck on the South Beach pier. I thought that was the end of that, and I sort of forgot about it."

Then Saturday, Pope got a postcard from England, with a photo of St. Martin's and Tresco, two islands in the Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall, England, nearly 4,000 miles from Pope's home.

"I thought to myself, 'Who do I know in England?' Then I read it, and I couldn't believe it," Pope chuckled. "My bottle was found."

Pope's bottle had floated across the Atlantic and was found on Samson, an uninhabited island in the Isles of Scilly, on March 22, about 17 months after the retired contractor had sent the bottle on its way.

"We've been cleaning the beaches here on a conservation holiday, and after the hundreds of bottles we found we came across yours, which created a nice diversion and made the local radio," the postcard read.

It was signed by James Roberts and six others. Roberts enclosed his email address and asked Pope to respond.

Pope said he did send an email but has yet to hear back from Roberts. Attempts by The Day to reach Roberts also were unsuccessful.

The note on the postcard ended with, "Have a great 2012!"

Pope said he was in shock when he read the card.

"To think that this little bottle traveled so far is simply amazing," he said. "Just imagine, if it could, what stories that bottle could tell."


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