Five Years, 4,800 Miles Later, A Bottle's Message Is Found

In April, the Monitor ran a story about a message in a bottle that had gone all the way around the Atlantic Ocean, from Massachusetts to the Bahamas.

Soon after the story ran, a Monitor reader in Connecticut sent us another amazing message-in-a-bottle story from a Maine newspaper. The reader, David Anderson, also included a copy of a Swedish newspaper article.

In 1989, 11-year-old Holley Anderson put a note into a brown glass bottle and dropped it into the ocean near her family's summer home at Sand Beach, Maine. Holley and her family lived in Preston, Conn.

Holley's note said, in part, "Dear Person, Hello. My name is Holley Anderson. I have shoulder-length blond hair and glasses.... Oh, I'm 11. I like to write and draw, and I love to ride horses."

The bottle was carried out into the Atlantic, where winds and currents swept it eastward. Five years later, a 10-year-old Swedish boy, Joakim Ogren, found it in Tullgarn, near the king of Sweden's summer palace, 40 miles south of Stockholm.

When his mother read the letter to Joakim and his three older brothers, they first thought it was a hoax. They were thrilled when they realized that the bottle had traveled more than 4,800 miles. It had bobbed past Great Britain and through the narrow arm of the North Sea (the Skagerak) between Norway and Denmark.

Since they speak and write English, the brothers became pen pals with 16-year-old Holley. They invited Holley and her family to visit them. (They haven't yet.)

The story of Holley's letter became famous in Sweden. A national newspaper (Expressen) carried a big story about it.

Martha Anderson, Holley's mother, was quoted in the Compass, a Maine newspaper supplement: "It does make the world feel very small - and that's nice."

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