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Message in a bottle's ocean voyage unites two teens on both sides of the Atlantic

Message in bottle unites two teens
Message in a bottle travels from Rhode Island to Portugal, connecting two teenagers 02:03

A voyage that began on the coast of Rhode Island in 2018 concluded in Portugal's Azores Islands just last week. It's where 17-year-old Christian Santos found a message in a bottle. Santos said the message talked about a Thanksgiving trip.

"He was 13, he was visiting Rhode Island, and he was from Vermont," Santos told CBS News' Michelle Miller. That 13-year-old is now 16-year-old Sean Smith. He and his relatives tossed several bottles in the ocean that day back in 2018.

"A couple of them got found not long afterwards, but then two and half years later, I completely had forgotten we'd even done it," Smith said.

The bottle traveled more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Rhode Island to the Azores. After Santos put the word out about the message, Smith saw a news report about it on Wednesday night.

"My first reaction was like, what the heck?" Smith laughed. The two teenagers have more in common than their age. Santos is also a native New Englander. He was born in Massachusetts before moving to the Azores, a coincidence not lost on his mom, Molly.

"I said, Christian, 'do you realize this like really close to where we are from honey.' What are the chances of him knowing how to read and speak English? If it was somebody else who didn't, they'd probably just toss it," Molly said.

A coincidence, kicking off a friendship that is worth the wait. 

"I think we will try to stay in touch. It's a pretty special occurrence," Smith said.

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