Eight-year-old Nyima Mitchell was playing with his friends near the water behind his home in Nova Scotia last fall when he made an incredible discovery.
"It was lying under a pine tree," Nyima said according to Yahoo. "I thought it was just some bottle that washed up here, but then I saw it had the paper in it," Nyima told CTV. The boy grabbed a pair of pliers to pry the top off the bottle and found a wrinkled and torn letter inside.
He unrolled the letter and saw it was dated August 12, 1995.
The letter was sent by a then-14-year-old girl from Quebec named Nellie Nadeau who wrote the letter while vacationing in the Magdalen Islands that summer. The bottle took 25 years to travel roughly 60 miles through the Gulf of St. Lawrence before it was found by Nyima.
"Dear friend, me and my friends have decided to write someone," the letter reads.
Aylmer girl's message in a bottle from 1995 found in Cape Breton https://t.co/aO2DspIwO1 #ottnews #ottawa https://t.co/B6OvGz0vpR— CBC Ottawa (@CBC Ottawa) 1615912815.0
"I thought, 'wow, it looks like a teenager wrote this," Britta Mitchell, Nyima's mother said. So the two went online to find Nellie and they ran across a description of a 39-year-old doctor in Alaska who loved the outdoors that seemed to fit.
"The description on it, I think it was the hospital website, it said she grew up in Quebec and she was very outdoorsy, and I thought, 'well, the age is right," Britta recalled.
Naima mailed her a hand-written letter that reads:
I found a message in a bottle in Chéticamp that was maybe sent by you 25 years ago from the Magdalen Islands. Please let me know.
After the letter was sent, they never received a response because Nellie's letter didn't make it through the post. But eventually, they were able to make contact with each other online.
"She said it gave her the chills for a few days, like it was really something," Britta said of Nellie's response. "So now we're waiting for her next letter. We still didn't get it, but I think she's working on it."
A pen-pal friendship 25 years in the making that started with a message in a bottle. #TheMoment https://t.co/OdzYlXWqwx— CBC News: The National (@CBC News: The National) 1615975200.0
Nellie is still shocked that anyone returned her message at all, let alone someone 25 years in the future.
"You sort of hope when you launch it [that someone will get it], but afterward realize that the probability of it ever making it intact to someone is really low," she said. "If it did, that person might not even be interested in writing you back."
The Mitchells say that even though they can contact Nellie through modern technology, they prefer to correspond to their new pen pal through the mail. That way it honors Nellie's original; intentions back in the summer of '95.
The newfound friends hope to see each other sometime soon.
"I think we both want to keep it that way," Britta said. "And she said she actually wants to come the next time she is in Eastern Canada and meet us, so that's super exciting."
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