Message in a bottle finds a friend

17th May 2012
Written by: Mary Short

Message in a bottle finds a friend

Anne O’Sullivan’s message in a bottle found over 8,000km away

We’ve all thought about or sent a message in a bottle, most likely to no avail. Well, one message in a bottle has finally found its mark.

Anne O’Sullivan sent a message in a bottle posing a pondering question ‘Is it better to love or be loved?’ Her bottle was found by South African Fiona Marlton while on holiday and the pair instantly became friends.

Anne O’Sullivan, from Australia, was travelling on a cruise ship off the Indonesian island of Komodo in March 2009 when she tossed the bottle overboard.

“We’re sitting in our balcony pondering. Is it better to love or be loved? Your answer will be appreciated. Call us or write to us,” the message read according to The Telegraph.

A year later, the bottle was found more than 8,000km away in shallow waters off Mozambique on Africa’s east coast by Fiona.

15 months after throwing the bottle into the sea, Mrs O’Sullivan received a surprise phone call.

“I found your bottle. It’s better to be loved. But to be loved you must love,” Mrs Marlton said.

The pair, who are now good friends, have exchanged a number of emails about life and love.

This year, Mrs O’Sullivan and her husband travelled from their small seaside town south of Sydney to meet Mrs Marlton at her home near Durban.

“It’s amazing. It feels like we’ve known each other for years,” Mrs O’Sullivan said.

“It was like meeting an old friend. It still feels surreal.”

Mrs Marlton said that when she discovered the bottle, she had been awaiting the arrival of a friend, who fell ill and died three weeks later.

“I lost a good friend but when I found this bottle I gained another friend,” she said.

Have you ever sent a message in a bottle? If so, have you ever received a response?

If you’re thinking about sending a message in a bottle on your gap year then head to our plan your trip section – even though we won’t tell you exactly how to do it (it’s pretty self-explanatory), we might just inspire you to do something else…


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