Jennifer Gray 2017-05-02 09:42:10
THE STORY OF A 21ST-CENTURY MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE Having grown up near the ocean, playing in the surf and poking through wracks of seaweed that had washed in with the high tide and lingered long after the waters recede, it is not surprising that as an adult I continue to gain great pleasure from taking strolls along the coastline. There’s something so exhilarating about finding the many fascinating gifts that are deposited by the sea and left scattered along the shoreline. I always found it a bit peculiar, however, that during all the decades I had spent beachcombing, I never found a message in a bottle. That all changed on a crisp January day. Whilst I was poking my stick through a mound of seaweed, I happened across a camera case carrying its own little microcosm of gooseneck barnacles and colourful marine algae — all signs that this case spent considerable time travelling in the sea’s currents. After scraping away the marine life and prying open the stiffened latch, I unravelled a shiny dry camera with not a drop of moisture. When I pressed the power button, the little camera lit up and turned on to display my set of clues for my modern message in a bottle. It was indeed a well-travelled camera with date-stamped images of sunny beach scenes, winter wonderlands, holiday gatherings, weddings, sweet little grandchildren and even a visit to the Grand Ole Opry — all enjoyed by an array of friends and family members over a two-year period. The last images taken told the story of underwater adventures from a liveaboard dive boat, which was identifiable only by a partially visible vessel name displayed on the staff’s uniforms. Playing a word game reminiscent of hangman and using a process of elimination, I researched liveaboards across the Caribbean and was led to a dive boat called the Aggressor ll. From amongst the 200 photographs, I identified The Dome dive site in the Turks and Caicos. This became my breaking point for unravelling the mystery. With the assistance of the Aggressor Fleet management, I cross-referenced team clients to the time stamps on the images. I then sent communications to the customers of the Turks and Caicos trip. Almost three months after finding the camera, I was tickled when I was contacted by an overjoyed woman from Tennessee who had lost her camera on the last day of her diving holiday in the Turks and Caicos. Bobbing along on ocean currents, on a route carried by the Gulf Stream, this little camera carried its memories over to Bermuda’s shores more than 2,400 kilometres over a nine-month period. Two people who otherwise would have never met were connected, and a new fan and visitor came to Bermuda. I can also finally say that I found my message in a bottle.
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