Globe-trotting message in bottle makes its way to Scotland

Josh Pennell
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A bottle tossed into the ocean at Petty Harbour has travelled all the way over to the shores of Out Skerries in the Shetland Islands of Scotland.

Ethan Arthur found a pop bottle with a message inside on the small island where he lives in Scotland. Most of the letter is too faded to read. It was launched from Petty Harbour by two boys, Declan and Liam. — Photo submitted by Julie Arthur

Julie Arthur and her 11-year-old son, Ethan Arthur, recently came across a pop bottle with a faded message inside it. Ethan was driving his quad when he made the discovery.

“I was just driving along and I noticed something that I hadn’t seen before sitting in the grass,” he says.

On his way back, he picked up the bottle.

“When I looked closely, I saw it had the message inside.”

Ethan opened the bottle with his mother. Inside was a small plastic bag with a letter inside.

“There was quite a strong vinegar smell,” Julie says about when they opened the bag.

Inside was a deteriorating piece of paper.

“Nobody is allowed to touch it at the moment,” says Julie.

“We can’t see very much. It’s all very faded.”

What can be made out is that it was launched from Petty Harbour, and it’s signed by Declan and Liam. It also indicates that the two boys were on vacation at the time so most likely aren’t from Newfoundland or, in the very least, not living here.

There’s also part of a postal code that reads M15 M3. There are some musical notes on the bottom of the letter and a date of August 11/09.


‘Please write us back’

“Please write us back’” can also be made out.

“Other than that, we have absolutely no clue,” says Julie.

The bottle hit a fairly small target. The island where Julie and Ethan live is roughly two miles long and one mile wide with a population of about 60.

“We’re still hoping we’ll be able to trace Declan and Liam and let them know that the bottle message was found,” says Julie.

Ethan comes by his excitement honestly in his desire to get in contact with the message makers.

His great-grandfather used to send messages out in bottles from the Shetland Islands and answer ones that he found. He found a balloon message from New Jersey one time.

“It’s been a real adventure for us this week,” says Julie.

And they’re hoping it’s just the start of the adventure.

Anybody who might know Declan and Liam can email

Josh Pennell at to get in touch with Julie and Ethan.



Geographic location: Scotland, Petty Harbour, Newfoundland Shetland Islands New Jersey

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