Speed Reads

worth the wait

Message in a bottle sent from Scotland washes up in Norway after 24 years

While at the beach in Gasvaer, Norway, in the summer of 2020, Elena Andreassen Haga found that a moment in time from 1996 had washed ashore.

Haga and her son, Eliah, discovered a green bottle that contained a letter written 24 years earlier by Joanna Buchan. Buchan was 8 years old and living in Peterhead, Scotland, when she dropped her message in a bottle into the sea for a school project. She addressed the letter to the "discoverer," and talked about her love of sweets, the book Charlotte's Web, her dog, and her family's "rather big house." She ended the note by saying, "By the way, I hate boys."

The bottle was found 800 miles away from where it had been dropped, and Haga told BBC Scotland when she and her son read the note and saw how far it had come, "that was kind of cool." She tracked Buchan down on Facebook and sent her a message, which Buchan only just saw this week while looking through her inbox.

Now 34 and a doctor living in Australia, Buchan told BBC Scotland she was shocked to find Haga's "absolute gem" of a message. She got a kick out of her 26-year-old letter, saying that when she first read it, "I just died laughing. There's some really lovely lines in there, like what was important to me at the time."