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Bottlenecked science project finds a home in Port A

Bottlenecked in the Gulf
Posted at 1:41 AM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 22:44:43-04

Seventh grader Evan Wurtzel cast a message in a bottle into the Gulf Of Mexico in 2017, when he was in fourth grade.

His bottle, which was part of a science project at his school in Mandeville, La., located outside of New Orleans, was found Friday by the Director of the Mission Aransas Reserve -- a research program at the UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas.

"I've got it right here," said Jace Tunnell, who found Evan's bottle. "(The message is) a little torn. I had to let it dry out for about 3 days."

The last of Evan's classmates' bottles were found a year-and-a-half ago. Monday, Evan found out his bottle's final destination.

"I was just surprised," he said. "It's been three years."

Three years, and what a journey!

The bottle was tossed into the gulf by the husband of Evan's fourth-grade teacher, who is a commercial fisherman. He often alternated dropping them in the gulf, or off the North Carolina coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

"He released them in different places and they (the kids) would try to predict where their bottle would go," said Cindy Braud, who is with Cedarwood School in Mandeville.

Tunnell does surveys up and down the beach on a weekly basis. Monday, he was excited to meet the boy whose message he found via Zoom.

"The fact that you had a drawing of the currents that you actually did some science behind it, that's what I found to be so interesting," Tunnell told Evan. "This is one of the coolest finds that I've ever found on the beach. I appreciate you taking the time to do that."

The classes' bottles have been found all over the world. In fact, Evan's brother did the same project, and his bottle was found in The Bahamas' Abacos Islands.

"We've had bottles found in the Bahamas and Florida, all the way to Normandy, France," Braud said.

A bottle was even found by a surfer in Portugal.

"I just thought it was cool that my bottle was found," Evan said.

Hurricane Laura may have helped to bring the bottle here.

"After a big storm like that comes through, we always get stuff that's washing up on the beach, and so this was one of those things we found," Tunnell said.

So what's in the bottle's future?

"I dried the bottle out and I dried the letter and the map out," Tunnell said. "And so what I'll end up doing is rolling them back up and putting them in the bottle and putting them up in my shelf. So now it's part of my decoration in the house. Part of our family now."

A final home for a bottle that went on quite the journey.