In 1991, a couple of hundred lobster pots were lost off the South Shore in Boston, and last week, 3,000 miles away and 20 years later, one of the pots turned up on a beach in County Kerry.
The fourth-generation fisherman said, “The odds are phenomenal."
South Shore native Richard Figueiredo lost hundreds of lobster pots in the “Perfect Storm” of 1991. Little did he know that 20 years later he would receive a Facebook message from Kerry.
Last week, Rosemary Hill, from Waterville, County Kerry, emailed Figueiredo’s son, Rich, to say that they had found a lobster pot with his name on it at the local beach.
Curt Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer from Seattle, told the Patriot Ledger that while lobster pots and other items are often found on distant shores, this 20-year drift is unusually long.
Ebbesmeyer said the pot and tag may have been buried in offshore mud before drifting south off the US Atlantic coast and then getting caught in the eastward Gulf Stream.
Hill, from Kerry, told the Ledger, “It was such an off-chance thing.”
The 39-year-old lifelong beachcomber spotted the pot and tag on the Waterville beach after a storm. She spotted the tag on the pot, picked it up and added it to a bowl of beach souvenirs in her home.
The next week she looked at it more closely. She said “I looked at it again and thought, ‘Why not try to find the owner?’... Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Hill turned to Facebook and found the fisherman’s son and reached out asking, “Is this you?”
Figueiredo’s son, Rich, said “I was completely shocked.”
His father was impressed at what a well travelled tag it is. He said “You can see it’s been around.”
Hill offered to post the tag back to the fisherman but he told her to keep it. He said, “The meaning it has over there is what matters ... I am honored that she has put so much enthusiasm into this. What’s happening now is a gift to me.”