North Carolina girl's message in a bottle washes up in Ireland

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A North Carolina girl’s message in a bottle that was put out to sea as part of a class project was found in Ireland.

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In October 2017, Laura Terry’s science class at Summit School in Winston-Salem sealed messages inside wine bottles to be released into the ocean for a lesson about ocean currents.

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Jan. 14, Irish grandmother Bridie Patten was walking on Doohoma Beach in western Ireland when she came across Laura’s bottle. Patten sent a letter to Summit School saying she had found the bottle, which contained a drawing by Laura and a note explaining the project.

"I kind of thought it would sink. I didn't know if it was going to be gone or if someone would find it," Laura told The Winston-Salem Journal. "I was so happy, like is this really true?"

Teacher Susan Schambach said she was surprised that the bottle showed up earlier than expected, and in Ireland. Laura’s bottle is the fifth to be found out of about 70 bottles that have been dropped into the Gulf Stream, an ocean current that runs along the North Carolina coast before crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Another bottle has been found in northern Portugal, while three others have been found along the coast of France. The bottles generally take 14 to 26 months to cross the ocean, Schambach said.

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Once the bottles are found, the class sends the finder of the bottle a box of goodies, including Summit T-shirts. One man in France sent the class keychains and postcards from Normandy.

“I hope my students realize it’s a big world but a really small place in terms of people,” Schambach said. “From learning about the power of the Gulf Stream to making international friends, it’s been a great success.”