DURHAM, NC -- It could have been mistaken for any other piece of garbage on the beach, but the water-stained, sun-bleached paper tucked inside a plastic bottle reads 'congratulations!'
The story begins with this girl from Durham, North Carolina. Alexus Monds was on her first trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Her mother had just read the book "Message in a Bottle" and Alexus decided to toss one of her own off the edge of the boardwalk.
Alexus says "I wrote that if anybody did find this bottle, to contact me. And I wrote my e-mail address and my home address."
And the date: December 18th, 2006.
A year later, Alexus had nearly forgotten the note, but someone was looking for her.
Beach ranger Alan Coltart found the bottle more than 3,000 miles away, near Bude, North Cornwall, England.
Alan Coltart says "we feel as though we won a prize ourselves, so if we can give that back to her, I think it would be doubly good for herself."
There weren't many clues to go on. Coltart could make out just enough to know the message was from a 12-year-old girl named Alexus in Durham. At first he thought she was from Durham in the UK, 300 miles away. Then he realized he was looking for an American in Durham, North Carolina.
The beach ranger contacted the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau to ask for help to find the girl named Alexus. Word spread.
Alexus was nearby at Durham School for the Arts, where she is now an 8th grader. That's where she and Alan Coltart are linked together once again -- this time by phone.
In this case, rough waves and a bit of luck washed a message in a bottle across the sea.
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