Denman Island’s Jori Phillips was surprised when she received a response to a message in a bottle she didn’t remember sending.
Phillips, now 21, dropped her message off the shores of Denman Island about 15 years ago, when she just seven years old.
She forgot all about it over the years, until she received a response last week in the mail.
“I was just super surprised,” says Phillips. “It was from Nova Scotia and it had stickers on the outside of it and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s sweet, it looks like it was written by a kid.’ “
But, the letter was actually written by retired Nova Scotia dentist Mark Dickson, who found the two-litre pop bottle when he was on a fishing trip in Nootka Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
“He found it and it was in such good condition that he assumed somebody had written it within a week (of him finding it),” says Phillips.
“He went back home to send it because he assumed he was sending a message to a seven-year-old, and I had written in the letter … ‘Do you want to be my pen pal?’ So, he thought, ‘Well, if I was a kid I would enjoy getting a letter from across the country a lot more.'”
Phillips is amazed the plastic bottle held up so well after being in the ocean for that length of time.
“The fact that it was in the water for 15 years, and it was still legible by the end of that kind of blows my mind,” says Phillips, adding water had seeped into the bottle a bit by the time it was found. “Apparently the letter was wet when he got it and he laid it out on the dashboard to dry, but it was still completely readable.”
Phillips’ childhood friend Madeline Keller-MacLeod had also contributed a letter to the bottle, and the two had asked similar questions about Pokémon and fairies.
Being a retired dentist, Dickson replied to Phillips that he certainly believes in fairies.
“I especially like tooth fairies as I am a dentist, so I have a special connection with them,” he writes, ending the letter with, “I will put a special word in for you with the tooth fairy.”
Phillips and Dickson spoke to each other when they both went on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition Wednesday.
“It was really cool,” says Phillips. “He sounds like such a sweetheart — and the fact that he took the time to write a letter back to a seven-year-old and he answered all my questions.”