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Letter in bottle that floated 8000 km away sparks Oz-African friendship

Australian Anne O’Sullivan was travelling on a cruise ship off the Indonesian island of Komodo in March 2009 when she tossed the bottle overboard, a major newspaper reported.

“We’re sitting in our balcony pondering. Is it better to love or be loved? Your answer will be appreciated. Call us or write to us,” the message read.

One year later, the bottle was discovered over 8000 km away in shallow waters off Mozambique on Africa’s east coast by South African holiday-maker Fiona Marlton.

Fifteen months after throwing the bottle into the sea, O’Sullivan was surprised to get a phone call.

“I found your bottle. It’s better to be loved. But to be loved you must love,” Marlton said.

London’s Daily Telegraph reported that the women screamed with excitement over the connection and struck up an instant friendship via email.

This year, O’Sullivan and her husband travelled from their small seaside town south of Sydney to meet Marlton at her home near Durban.

“It’s amazing. It feels like we’ve known each other for years,” O’Sullivan said.

“It was like meeting an old friend. It still feels surreal.”

Marlton asserted that when she found the bottle, she had been awaiting the arrival of a friend, who fell ill and died three weeks later.

“I lost a good friend but when I found this bottle I gained another friend,” she added.

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