Message from US ship lands on Sollas beach

Eilidh Carr with the bottle she found on the beaches in Sollas, North Uist.
Eilidh Carr with the bottle she found on the beaches in Sollas, North Uist.

A Uist woman got more than just a great day out when she took a trip over to Vallay Island – a message in a bottle from over 1400 miles away.

Eilidh Carr (24), who lives on Berneray, found the bottle while visiting beaches in Sollas.

Eilidh, who returned home after studying photography on the mainland and now runs her own gift shop called Coralbox on Berneray, made the discovery on a day off from the shop.

She said: “I like to spend as much time at the beaches and outdoors as much as possible.

“So at the weekend, my dad and I went for a trip over to Vallay Island and then round to Udal onto the beaches in Sollas.

“It was on Traigh Udal that we came across this message in a bottle, which had washed up at high tide.”

The message was dated October 17, 2016, and it also gave position co-ordinates of a ship called Maersk Iowa.

The co-ordinates were based on the ship’s position at the time it was written.

After looking up the Maersk Iowa, Eilidh found out that the ship is a 292-metre long container ship from the Maersk Line in the United States.

Calculating from the co-ordinates, Eilidh believes the bottle had travelled roughly 1410 miles before washing up on North Uist.

The message also contained an email address so the sender could find out that if their message had been found.

After quickly sending an email to the sailor who had dropped the bottle in the sea, Eilidh received a reply, which said: “The ship I’m on now trades from the US east coast and gulf coast to Northern Europe. It is a 35-day run, back and forth across the pond. The ship can carry 4300 containers, it is 292m long and we are currently bound for Norfolk, Virginia in the US. Today we passed just north of the island of Flores in the Azores.”

Eilidh was delighted to find out the story of the bottle, adding: “It turns out it really was an exciting day off walking along the beach.”