SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A message in a bottle from Hawaii was discovered floating in a California river after traveling for more than a decade across the Pacific, a newspaper reported.
Eric McDermott, 30, said he found the message, dated 2006, in April with the names of three siblings, ages 4, 7 and 10, and an Oklahoma street address, The Press Democrat reported Friday.
McDermott was volunteering his time cleaning up the Russian River about 77 miles (124 kilometers) north of San Francisco when he spotted the bottle in the water, he said.
He spent months searching for the family in the note and finally tracked them down a few miles from where he discovered the note, he said.
"The world works in mysterious ways," McDermott said. "What are the odds?"
The family was originally from Santa Rosa, California, and returned after living in Oklahoma for a few years.
Brian Bricker and his ex-wife Alicia Bricker were shocked to learn of the discovery. Their children — now 17, 20 and 23 — have grown a lot over the years.
One just finished college and one is married, Alicia Bricker said.
The bottled message was inspired by a late family friend, Michele Coutin, who enjoyed traveling the world, Brian Bricker said.
"She traveled a lot, and she always said, 'Hey, when I went here, I threw a bottle in the ocean for you guys,'" Brian Bricker said.
The family threw the bottle into the ocean during a Hawaii vacation, McDermott said.
It likely floated south from Hawaii toward the Philippines and Asia before possibly taking a counterclockwise swing through the Gulf of Alaska before heading down the California coast, said John Largier, professor of oceanography at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab in Bodega Bay.
"If only it could talk," Largier said.
Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com