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From the Grand Banks to County Cork — a message sent and received

By Siobhan Cronin

Special to The Telegram

County Cork, Ireland

A message in a bottle, which was thrown into the Atlantic by a Newfoundland and Labrador fisherman, was found earlier this month — almost exactly four months later — by a West Cork fisherman.

Craig Drover, a snow crab fisherman from Bryant’s Cove, threw the bottle, containing a short letter, into the sea at the Grand Banks on June 28.

While potting shrimp near Baltimore harbour on the afternoon of Nov. 1, County Cork fisherman John Leonard spotted the clear glass bottle bobbing in the water.

“I saw the bottle near the shore and I picked it up and found a letter wrapped in a plastic freezer bag inside it,” Leonard told The Southern Star newspaper. “It was a grand, clear day.”

The bottle contained a short note from Drover, which said, “This bottle was tossed over the side of the fishing vessel Atlantic Eagle on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Canada, while fishing for snow crab.”

He also gave the GPS co-ordinates for the boat, which showed it west of St John’s.

It means the message travelled a distance of 1,900 miles to get to Baltimore — or approximately 20 miles a day — from Canada to Europe.

“I’m always looking out for bottles,” said Leonard, who has been fishing for 40 years. “I once found a bottle on the Ilen River that had been thrown in at Heir Island, but that wasn’t too far compared with this.”

Drover, who gave his address at Bryant’s Cove, also included his email address and sent a detailed reply to The Southern Star.

Drover said his hobby is writing messages in bottles and it was the 77th time he had been successful.

He already has replies from Spain (12), Portugal (2), England (10), Scotland (11), France (16), Faroe Islands (2), U.S. (2), Bahamas (3), Norway (1) and, unsurprisingly, Ireland tops his list, with 18 replies.

“My very first reply was from Ireland, found in Castletownbere in 2006,” he told The Southern Star.

“Even though I’ve had numerous replies back, when I receive a new one it’s just as exciting as the first.”

Drover, a crab and shrimp fisherman, is the owner and captain of the Arctic Eagle trawler and while he has never been to Ireland, he is hoping to visit the country in the next few years.

“I don’t have any Irish connections, but some of my extended family have strong Irish roots. We love Irish music. About 25 per cent of Newfoundland’s population is of Irish descent, mainly on the southeast coast. We are frequent travellers, and our accent has often been mistaken for Irish.”


Siobhan Cronin is the news editor of The Southern Star newspaper in County Cork, Ireland.

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