Eat your heart out, Nicholas Sparks.
Derby angler Janet Messineo last week found her second message in a bottle from an Island student.
Mr. Sparks’s popular novel by the same name about true love found by a woman who finds a message in a bottle may not be the stuff from which award-winning striped bass are found, but the derby weigh-in station was abuzz Sunday morning when Ms. Messineo popped in with a carefully sealed Snapple bottle enclosing a note.
Discernible inside the bottle was the name “Andrew,” which turned out to be the name of Andrew Ruinerman, a fifth grader at the Chilmark school. Andrew cast the bottle into the Vineyard Sound on a west running tide on Sept. 12 while on the annual school field trip aboard the Alabama, according to fifth grade teacher Jackie Guzalak.
The Alabama is a Vineyard Haven based schooner owned by Robert Douglas Sr. and used for school trips. The majority of the six-day trip was spent aboard sister ship Shenandoah, carefully described by Andrew in his note that also asked the finder to respond.
The appearance of Ms. Messineo and her message bottle further galvanized the energetic Martha Smith, weigh-in administrator, to arrange the bottle and a photo-shy Ms. Messineo for a photo opportunity during a break in the weigh-in.
“The amazing thing is that this is the second message in a bottle I’ve found,” said Ms. Messineo, who’s been fishing the derby hard for thirty years. “The first one I found years ago, also from a grade school kid, was years after he put it in the water. He was in high school when I found it, on the exact day of the year he had thrown it in the water years before,” she said.
Andrew will be receiving a response soon, derby officials vowed. Noting that 12 additional bottles are bobbing in the Sound, Ms. Guzalak noted that two years ago eight bottles washed up and were returned from Cape beaches and lore has one far-flung bottle long ago reaching the shores of Ireland, she said.
The potential good-luck effect of the found bottle on Ms. Messineo’s weigh-ins will be carefully monitored for the next three weeks.