Four years later, man gets reply to message in bottle

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Technology has provided people all around the world with ways tosend messages in an instant, but a Brookhaven man recentlydiscovered that old-fashioned communication efforts still prove tobe effective.

Ted Bien found that one of the first forms of sending messagesmay have been slow, but it still works even today.

Bien sent a message in a bottle almost four years ago from acruise ship in the Atlantic Sea just to humor himself, and wassurprised last week when he got a reply.

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“I was amazed and astounded. I thought ‘How unique. These thingsreally do happen,'” said Bien.

His experience with the rarely-used form of communication beganon May 5, 1997 while on a cruise ship traveling from Spain toFrance. After eating dinner that evening with his wife, Faye, Bienhad the idea to use a wine bottle as a carrier of a message tellingwho he was and where he had launched the bottle overboard.

“On a whim, I just decided I was going to throw it over the railand see if anybody found it and they did almost four years later,”he laughed.

The reply he received was from a nine-year-old girl living inthe North Finistere region of France. Aourell Guivare’h found thebottle a few weeks ago on a beach near the tip of Brittany,France.

She wrote Bien back using the home address he had put on theoriginal message. Since she wrote her reply in French, Bien neededsome help translating the message.

Janine “Sweetpea” Adams, who was a former resident of Belgium,knew some French and offered her assistance.

She translated the short reply, which merely stated whereGuivare’h found the bottle and her home address.

Adams also helped Bien send a letter back to the girl thankingher for the reply and requesting more information about the unusualincident.

“I’m interested in finding out about the little girl and how shefound it,” said Bien. “In the note I also asked her if there wasanything she wanted from the United States because I would like tosend her something.”

He does not expect another letter from Guivare’h for at leastthree weeks, estimating that it takes around a week and a half formail to reach the northern region of France.

Bien believes he and his family could learn many things fromGuivare’h, just as she could learn much about Americanlifestyles.

“I have an eight-year-old granddaughter who would like to be apen pal with her,” said Bien, adding that the two children couldpossibly e-mail each other as well if she has access to theInternet.

The experience has been an amusing one for Bien, his family andfriends. He imagines it is equally entertaining for Guivare’h.

With a smile, Bien said it is events such as this that keepseveryone in amazement about how small the world really can be.