Blue bottle
Paul, Jake and Bob followed the tiny blue bottle’s journey from Long Reef in NSW to Seventeen Seventy in Queensland.

A beautiful blue bottle story

Hi all, Christmas is a special time for families and friends – a time of giving and a time of being thankful for the gifts in our lives.

This story begins at the Seventeen Seventy boat ramp, where I noticed a crowd had gathered beside the Volunteer Marine Rescue building.

Four jet skis approached the boat ramp to an overwhelming cheer, and I noticed many of the crowd wearing a brightly designed T-shirt.

I walked onto the gangway leading to the pontoon for a better vantage point and, for some reason, stopped to ask one of the crowd the significance of this obviously emotional event.

Ironically, out of all the people there, I found myself talking to Alana’s mum, who graciously told me of this beautiful story and how it began.

It’s not often you feel instant empathy as well as bewilderment at occurrences that can mysteriously happen in life.

In July 2018, a beautiful young women Alana – then only 14 years old – lost her battle to a rare form of childhood cancer.

blue bottle
The Blue Bottle crew after their epic fund and awareness-raising journey.


Family and friends gathered and placed messages of love and support into a pretty little blue bottle.

They sealed the bottle and threw it into the ocean at Long Reef, located on Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches.

Twelve months had past when Bob and Mel Cooper found the same pretty little bottle washed up on one of our Agnes Water beaches, completely intact.

As fate would have it, it was the first time in six months that the Coopers had gone for walk along the beach.

One thing led to another and soon an organisation called Blue Bottle was formed.

Blue Bottle then joined forces with The Kids’ Cancer Project to raise awareness about the importance of scientific research in finding treatments and cures.
They also raise much-needed funds to help with assistance in future research.

That blue bottle brought together Alana’s dad Paul, brother Jake and Bob Cooper, who then had an idea to undertake an epic journey on jet skis to follow the path of the tiny bottle.

A huge undertaking – well done to all involved.


The 1500km venture started at Long Reef on October 16 and concluded in Agnes Water on Friday 28.

Each day the trio traveled about 150km at sea to the next port – every day raising funds and awareness.

A team of 15 volunteers – consisting of family, friends and The Kids’ Cancer Project founder Col Reynolds – were the land-based support crew.

Starting at Long Reef, Paul, Jake and Bob stopped at Swansea, Forster, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Ballina, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Noosa, Hervey Bay and concluded with an emotional finish beside the Seventeen Seventy marina.

I felt I was meant to see the beautiful memorial to young Alana – particularly after saying goodbye to my mother, Carmen Graveson, two weeks prior on October 11.

My mum had battled two types of cancer over the past 10 years, before finally surrendering.

The Kids’ Cancer Project is an independent national charity supporting research since 1983 into childhood cancer.

The T-shirt tells the story.


The organisation has contributed tens of millions of dollars to scientific studies and their vision is to see a 100 percent survival rate for children with cancer.

I know the past few years have been tough for many, however Christmas is a time of giving, and what better cause is there than helping the fight against childhood cancer?

You can help by going to the Blue Bottle website – – and donating, or you can still sponsor Paul, Jake or Bob via this site, even though their epic journey is complete.

I was blessed to witness the conclusion of the event and in a small way can help to create awareness through this publication.

Recently, when walking to a local surf break, I was lucky enough to coincidentally run into Col Reynolds and Alana’s mum, who were preparing to head home.

It’s not often you meet such strong special people and have the chance to share an important message.

Let’s all have a fantastic holiday season – Merry Christmas to you and your families – see you in 2023.

About Paul 'Chief' Graveson

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