Brad Van Liew, world-class American sailor and father of two, was the catalyst in what might only be described as a fairy-tale event. Before embarking on his voyage, Van Liew’s daughter Tate wrote a message and stuck it in a bottle. She made him promise to jettison it as he crossed the equator in the hopes that it would reach someone, someday.
“I was off the coast of Brazil headed for Cape Town… I had cleared the doldrums and the southeasterly trades were pushing me along… I videotaped myself sending off the message in a bottle knowing full well it may never reach another human…” What Van Liew didn’t know was that the bottle was already on its way.
Nine months later, the message reached a young Polish boy visiting the coast of St. Maarten in Guana Bay. Michael Raczynski, a 2nd grader from Warsaw, and his father Zbigniew, often comb beaches for “pirate treasure,” but never anticipated a find such as this. They sent the Van Liews a letter and photos of the bottle, which had gathered various life on it during its voyage of more than 2,000 miles. The families plan to keep in touch in the future via more modern techniques.
Said the elder Raczynski, “You never know whom you will meet and what will be tomorrow.”