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Message in a bottle, tossed into the sea in Rhode Island, found in Azores

The note was written in 2018 by a 13-year-old who was visiting family in Rhode Island

Christian Santos, 17, holds the bottle he found floating in the water while he was spear-fishing in the Azores in June 2021. Inside the bottle was a note, apparently written in 2018 and thrown into the ocean in Rhode Island.
Christian Santos, 17, holds the bottle he found floating in the water while he was spear-fishing in the Azores in June 2021. Inside the bottle was a note, apparently written in 2018 and thrown into the ocean in Rhode Island.Molly Santos

PROVIDENCE — He was spearfishing in the Azores when he found a crunched plastic bottle bobbing along in the water, with something inside. Christian Santos grabbed the bottle, opened it, and discovered a note, written by a Vermont teenager, who apparently chucked the message-in-a-bottle into the sea somewhere near Rhode Island back in 2018.

Santos’ mother, Molly Santos, posted a picture of the note on Facebook on June 8, along with a plea: “if you know someone who lives in Vermont ask them to share this so we can find this kid it’s so cool how far it came!!!”

The bottle traveled at least 2,400 miles from Rhode Island to the mid-Atlantic archipelago where Santos, 17, found it. Coincidentally, the Santos family used to live in Boston before moving to Portugal when Santos was just 5.

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He was fishing for fun near the island of São Jorge, his mother said, near a little village known as faja João Dias.

15RImessage - Christian Santos, 17, found the message in a bottle while spearfishing in the Azores.  (Credit: Molly Santos)
15RImessage - Christian Santos, 17, found the message in a bottle while spearfishing in the Azores. (Credit: Molly Santos)Molly Santos

The note, written in orange marker on a well-preserved index card, reads: “It is Thanksgiving. I am 13 and visiting family in Rhode Island. I am from Vermont. If found email messageinbottle2018@gmail.com.”

Santos told a Globe reporter in a video chat that he is a recreational fisherman who respects the environment. He was fishing with his cousin in shallow ocean waters when he saw the bottle in front of him and collected it.

Santos said he has previously scooped plastic bottles, plastic bags, paper, boat parts, and rope from the water.

“I picked it up and looked inside and there was a paper in there,” said Santos, who brought it to shore so he wouldn’t ruin the paper. “I thought it was interesting and went to show it to my mom.”

Molly Santos told her son that the note was from the area near where he was born.

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“What are the chances of someone from Portugal, who can actually read English, finding that and understanding what it says,” she said.

15RImessage - Christian Santos, 17, found the message in a bottle while spearfishing in the Azores.  (Credit: Molly Santos)
15RImessage - Christian Santos, 17, found the message in a bottle while spearfishing in the Azores. (Credit: Molly Santos)Molly Santos

Molly Santos said on Facebook that she tried sending an email to the address on the note, but there was no response.

“I would like to tell him I found it, and where it was, what I was doing,” Christian Santos told WCVB News in Boston. “And we’re going to be friends for life.”

The author of the note would now be around Santos’s age.


Carlos Muñoz can be reached at carlos.munoz@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ReadCarlos.