June 11 (UPI) -- A British family who launched messages in miniature bottles into the water said they were surprised when one was found 30 miles away -- after only one week.
Mandy and Liam Everall said they were visiting the Isle of Wight with their son, Rhys, and daughter, Lily, when they decided to toss four messages in bottles into the English Channel from a bridge.
Mandy Everall said 12-year-old Rhys had come up with the idea when they were first planning their family vacation in October 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic ended up delaying their trip until May of this year.
The Everalls launched their bottles May 30, and were back at home in the Black Country region of England's West Midlands June 7 when they learned from a friend that one of their bottles had already made a splash on social media.
"I'm not on social media so I missed all this stuff. But when I was shopping my friend asked me how my holiday went and asked if it was me that launched the note," Mandy Everall told BlackCountryLive.
The note in question was found by Dot Hlawaty while she was walking her dog on the beach near Selsey, about 30 miles from where the bottles were launched.
Hlawaty posted about the discovery on Facebook, and her photos were soon shared to multiple local groups on the social media site.
"We are over the moon," Everall said. "We never thought that these bottles would be found -- in fact, I just expected it to smash on a rock and be lost at sea."
Everall said there are still three bottles unaccounted for.
"Who knows, they could even end up in another country," she said.