Guam student uncovers message from Utah girl - News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam student uncovers message from Utah girl

by Krystal Paco

Guam - Last weekend thousands of residents flocked to the island's beaches to participate in the biggest volunteer event of the year to pick up trash that could potentially pollute the ocean. As part of the International Coastal Cleanup, one student makes an unusual find on the shores of Ipan, Talofofo.

It was an unexpected find. While covering four miles of beach on the southern part of Guam, 14-year-old Javier Sanchez discovered a message in a bottle.

Your typical green wine bottle sealed tightly with a cork, the George Washington High School student could see a letter rolled up inside.

Just one of the close to 900 high school students along that stretch of beach Saturday morning, Sanchez opted to share it with his school's marine biology teacher, Linda Tatreau.

Waiting until Thursday, the two cracked the bottle open before a crowd of excited students as Tatreau read the faded print out loud.

Dated January 11th 2010, the note, which was doodled with flowers, was from 24-year-old Brittanie Penrose of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Utah being a landlocked state, left many in the audience questioning.

"What does salt lake city not have, what does Utah not have? Everybody yelled out 'no ocean.' They decided she either had a really good throwing arm or she must've been on vacation," Tatreau said.

Within minutes, Tatreau along with KUAM, were able to message the girl via Facebook.

"We're pretty amazed that we can do it instantly with today's social media networks and we hope that we can actually get a response from her and get a little conversation going. We wonder if she's still in Salt Lake City, Utah," she said.

Meanwhile, here on Guam, Tatreau tells KUAM messages in bottles have been a longtime staple in her lesson plan.

"I've been teaching marine biology for 24 years and every year we send out drift bottles of our own so we send out about 100 and we've got responses every single year except one. We have 23 years worth of data as to where those drift bottles have gone," she said.

From Guam shores, Tatreau says the bottles typically go north of the equatorial current and head straight to the Philippines while others go south of the equator - one in Indonesia, another in Papau New Guinea, and one on a tiny island of Japan discovered by the island's only student.

"He contacted people on mainland Japan and convinced them that they should send him to Guam so he actually came to visit us and brought a video team and they made a little video about the whole thing. So we've had a lot of fun with messages in bottles. We've learned a lot about the currents but we rarely find any," she said.

In her last paragraph, Brittanie hopes that "whoever finds this is able to reach out and grab out of life everything they have ever wanted."

For Tatreau, the unexpected message has sparked excitement in her students.

"Oh my goodness! We have so much fun in marine biology on Guam!" she said.

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