MAINE, USA — We've heard about messages in bottles, class rings, and other mementos lost here in Maine turning up across the Atlantic Ocean. But an even more unusual piece of Maine was discovered in another part of the world.
Trondheim, Norway resident Sigbjorn Eide was out for a walk collecting trash with his mother when he noticed something white resting on a bed of seaweed.
"I just picked it up and [thought], 'What is this?'" Eide told NEWS CENTER Maine. "'Couldn't be something valuable?' I thought."
The hard hat might not be valuable to Eide but possibly to the Maine Department of Transportation employee it once belonged to.
"My thoughts when I picked it up were, 'Hmm, maybe a helmet from the neighborhood, somewhere close?'" Eide wrote in his Facebook message to the Maine DOT. "But then, I saw the American flag on it. When I Googled it I found [the Maine DOT] at once. I was astonished and impressed by the long voyage the small helmet had taken."
Damian Veilleux, a spokesperson for the Maine DOT, told NEWS CENTER Maine they're not sure how that particular hat ended up in Norway.
“We were very thankful [Eide] reached out and we’ve decided that at this point the hat has traveled so many miles that he should keep it as a matter of international exchange," Veilleux said.
In a statement to NEWS CENTER Maine, Veilleux said it's roughly 3,300 miles by sea from Maine to Norway, but the hard hat likely traveled about 8,000 miles along the gulf stream currents to its new owner.
"Honestly, this was kind of a sobering thing," Veilleux said. "It's a fun story, but at the same time it shows just how interconnected our ecosystems are with the oceans and the climate. You know, a piece of plastic traveling 8,000 miles through the ocean to end up in another country just shows how interconnected this world really is."
Eide has since cleaned up his new hat that was covered in green and brown seaweed. He has also been hired as a professional beach cleaner in Norway.
The Maine DOT said it plans to send their new overseas friend some special goodies from Maine.