Meet Kelvin and Sammie Euridge–father and daughter.
Ah, wait. They’re kind of far away in that photo… let’s see… Oh! Here we go:
It’s September 1983. Ronald Reagan is in the White House. Margaret Thatcher is prime minister. Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space. Fraggle Rock airs on HBO. Michael Jordan is still in college.
A 6,000 tonne refrigerated cargo ship has just departed Savannah, Georgia, bound for Somalia, carrying a bit more precious cargo than the ship’s records reflect. The ship is white, black, and red–nothing special, just another cargo ship. But, as for what’s on board…
Kelvin works for the company who owns this vessel–he is Chief Engineering Officer–and the company allows Sammie to travel with him.
By day, they work and play respectively, visit the bridge, go swimming, and more.
By night, they have another tradition–sending messages in bottles together. Of course, Sammie is too small to reach over the side of the ship herself, so Kelvin holds her up, and she throws the bottle. This tradition takes place at night so they can watch each bottle glitter red or green in the ship’s running lights as it falls to the sea. Every time, Kelvin asks Sammie, “Red or green?” If she wants the bottle to turn red, they go to the port (left) side of the ship; if green, they head to the starboard (right) side of the ship.
One night, when the ship has chugged far enough away from Savannah that it is cruising in the Gulf Stream–that highway of the North Atlantic–they decide to throw two messages in bottles. Maybe Sammie wants to see bottles turn both colors this night. Maybe Kelvin and friends have emptied a few extra bottles… Hard to say. But, in any case, the bottles go overboard to disappear in the dark ocean waves, and the ship keeps chugging along.
Along the way, memories are made that Kelvin will never forget, and in Sammie, something–some desire to see the world, to explore every corner of the earth and sea–germinates and begins to grow. By age 3, Sammie swims in each of the world’s great oceans, and completes a trans-Atlantic crossing by ship. The world is her playground.
When the ship reaches its destination, Kelvin and Sammie keep right on exploring.
That’s because they are a very inquisitive team. Just look at Sammie, investigating the shallow seas. Jacqueline Cousteau.
Even at this moment, as Sammie peeks into the underworld of the ankle-deep sea, the bottles she threw overboard with her dad outside Savannah, Georgia, have been floating in the merciless, harsh ocean for months. Does she remember them? Does she think of them as she goes poking around in tidal pools?
How could something so fragile ever survive on earth as we know it?
Kelvin and Sammie reach home after their journey. However, the bottles they sent off the coast of Georgia remain drifting, floating toward an uncertain future, carrying their own precious cargo.
And here, we zoom out from the bottles. At first, you see them up close, wet and glistening in the sunny sea as waves quietly lap over them. As the camera pulls back, we float straight up from the bottles and watch as they shrink to smaller and smaller dots below us–a shiny spot, now just a white fleck glinting on that deep blue water, and now gone. These invisibly small vessels are forgotten and left to ride the ocean’s currents unseen, anonymous, lost to time and the whims of the sea.
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Claire Smiley said: