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Bottle containing message floats from Florida to Ireland

By Matt Cherry, CNN
  • A Florida teenager says people in Ireland found a bottle he threw into the ocean
  • The bottle is part of a high school science experiment
  • Other students' bottles have been found in Georgia, South Carolina and Rhode Island

(CNN) -- Here's a reason to be hopeful if you ever find yourself stuck on a desert island: sending a message in a bottle could actually work.

Just ask Corey Swearingen. A teenager in Ireland recently found the bottle and message he tossed off the Florida coast last year.

"I was excited and amazed that my bottle traveled all the way across the Atlantic Ocean," said Swearingen, 18.

But Swearingen's message wasn't an SOS. It was part of an experiment in his marine science class at Florida's Melbourne High School that started 16 months ago.

"The goal was to basically see how the ocean currents work and how the Gulf Stream flows, and eventually it landed in Ireland," he said.

Swearingen says 17-year-old Adam Flannery and his father made the discovery.

"He was walking along the shore, and he saw the bottle and opened it," Swearingen said. "The message said, 'Please do not throw this away. This is a science experiment.'"

The note directed the pair to contact science teacher Ethan Hall, which they did.

By this time, Swearingen had graduated from high school and was attending Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. Hall tracked him down through Facebook and sent him a message with the incredible news.

Swearingen said he had yet to speak with the Irish duo who found the bottle, but was looking forward to hearing their take on the find.

This is not the first time Hall's experiment has proven successful, according to Swearingen.

People in Georgia, South Carolina and Rhode Island have discovered bottles from other students in Hall's class.

Still, Swearingen didn't expect anyone would ever find his bottle.

But he said the fact that it travelled thousands of miles ensured he learned a lesson from the experiment -- more than a year after taking part in it.

"I learned that the Gulf Stream goes really, really far away," he said.