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Shelburne County youth finds 18-year-old message in a bottle on shoreline of Lower Woods Harbour

Dallas Goreham holds up the note he found in a bottle on May 16 washed up on the Lower Woods Harbour shoreline, 18 years after it had been tossed into the ocean in the waters off Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Dallas Goreham holds up the note he found in a bottle on May 16 washed up on the Lower Woods Harbour shoreline, 18 years after it had been tossed into the ocean in the waters off Gloucester, Massachusetts. - Kathy Johnson

Message released off Massachusetts in 2000 found in 2018 on the shoreline in Lower Woods Harbour

LOWER WOODS HARBOUR, SHELBURNE COUNTY, N.S. – A message in a bottle released into the Atlantic Ocean on Aug 19, 2000, off the shores of Massachusetts was found earlier this month by 11-year-old Dallas Goreham, while out scouring the Lower Woods Harbour, N.S., shoreline near his home for sea glass and other ocean treasures.

“Hi, Friend. I am a visitor to Gloucester. I hope you will/let me know if and when you find this. Cheers, Rita,” read the note, which contained an email address.

“I was pretty stunned when I found it,” said Dallas in an interview, who wasn’t able to read the note because it was written in cursive, which isn’t taught in school anymore. He had to cut the bottom off the bottle to get the note out. Dallas said when he told his dad Graham about the find, “He didn’t believe me at first, so I got the bottle and THE note and showed him and he thought it was pretty cool and said, ‘Good job finding it.’ I thought it was really cool myself.”

With the help of his mother Tara, Dallas sent an email to the email address provided but it bounced back.

“I did a Facebook search and couldn’t find anyone with that name, so I did a Google search and found an article written in 2003 in the Buffalo Times by the same name, so I emailed their news centre to see if they would send me her contact information,” said Tara.

An email address was provided and this time it worked. It didn’t long for Rita Ganim to reply.

“I had asked if she had visited Gloucester and had released a bottle in the ocean and she came back that night with ‘yes.’ She remembered she had been visiting her daughter and it has kind of snowballed from there,” said Tara, as the story has made international headlines.

Dallas also sent Rita an email telling her about how he found the bottle and “how cool it was.”

“She thought it was really cool and she said I was expecting to find a pirate with no teeth but came upon a handsome little boy,” he said.

When contacted, Rita Ganim said it was “shocking” to hear that the bottle had been found.

“Wonderfully shocking because I had totally forgot about that,” she said. “My goodness, 18 years ago I was visiting my daughter in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was a beautiful evening and my son-in-law Michael said let’s go for a little boat ride. He’s got this little Boston whaler and I was kind of sneaking the bottle on because I didn’t know if I should put in the water.

“I had the note written on fairly heavy paper and it was in an Ocean Spray bottle. I said to Michael I don’t want to harm the environment. I don’t know if I want to do this and he said, ‘Oh Rita go for it,’ so I threw it in the water,” she said. “Truthfully, I didn’t think much about it for 18 years. My only thought was I just kind of hope I don’t get a pirate with two teeth missing and a patch over his eye or something like that, but lucky for me we had Dallas, who at 11 years old and wasn’t even born yet, find my bottle, so it was shockingly wonderful. I’m still stunned by it.”

Ganim, 80, is a resident of West Seneca, a suburb of Buffalo.

“A boat ride is not something I get to do very often,” she said. “That was the only boat I had been on in years, but it was just so pleasant.”

When asked if she had plans to release any more messages in a bottle, Ganim laughed and said she didn’t think so, given the media attention this note has been getting.

“Everything short of the paparazzi,” she said. “Yesterday I had over 25 phone calls. I couldn’t sit down for five minutes.”

As for Dallas, he’s been taking the media attention in stride, with plans to start paying more attention to bottles when he’s out beachcombing – keeping an eye out for notes as he collects bottles. He’s collecting the bottles, he says, to “save up to fix my dirt bike.”

Dallas is a Grade 5 student at the Evelyn Richardson Memorial School (ERMES).

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