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Soccer ball lost in Nunavut waters recovered on Newfoundland beach

The sun had just begun to come up on the morning of May 30, when Newfoundland fisher Lee Croucher decided to get out of his boat and fetch the soccer ball he'd noticed on the beach a few days earlier.

Little did he know that the lonely ball he'd spotted in Beaumont, Newfoundland, on the south end of the province, had made an epic journey to get there – lasting some 10 years and more than 3,000 kilometres. 

"I have young daughters, and I was just going to get the ball [...] for them to play with," he said. "After I found the school name, then there was way more interest in the ball."

The seven letters – Ulaajuk – scrawled on the ball in black marker, didn't ring a bell, Croucher said, so he decided to Google them that evening.

"It came out with … Pond Inlet in northern Baffin island," he said. 

Nearly 3,000 kilometres to the north, Pond Inlet sits at the top of Baffin Island in eastern Nunavut. 

The community has two schools, including Ulaajuk Elementary, which welcomes students from kindergarten to Grade 6.

Suddenly, Croucher found himself fascinated by a territory he had never visited. 

News of his discovery spread rapidly among his family members, and a cousin in Hopedale, Nunatsiavut posted about it on Facebook.

Within days, the post had been shared hundreds of times. 

That's how the news made it to Ulaajuk Elementary School principal Sandra Rutledge in Pond Inlet. 

"I think I was most amazed [by] how far it traveled and that the sharpie was clear as day," Rutledge said.

She was especially excited that the post generated so much interest in the community. 

"We're proud that our name has gone viral on Facebook as well as [that] our soccer ball went all the way to Newfoundland," she added.

"We were all kind of laughing.