Message in a bottle.

In 310 BC an ancient Greek philosopher used a message in a bottle to prove that the Mediterranean sea was fed by the Atlantic Ocean.  Since that time there have been thousands of recorded cases of messages being recovered from bottles.  Many of those cases involve people in distress or urgently seeking to pass along an important message. 

As person obsessed with cruising the seven seas, I decided, years ago, to pen and release my own messages in a veiled attempt to gather oceanography data and conduct a simple social experiment.  

My first release 2001:  On a Western Caribbean cruise on board the motor vessel (M/V) Century, I wrote a quick note with some simple instructions, rolled up the paper and tossed the bottle into the sea while transiting the coastal waters off of the South Eastern tip of Cuba.  The sun had just set and the ocean was in a calm state.  I watched as the champagne bottle bobbed up and down until we had sailed out of sight.  I figured it would never be found, little did I know, not only would it be found,  it would be found just a few hours after I tossed it over the rail by a Cuban fisherman 12 miles out into the sea from his small fishing named Moa on the Eastern coast of Cuba.  A week after our cruise I was asleep at home when the phone rang.  It was a collect call from Cuba, not thinking my bottle had been found, I refused the call.  The next day another call came from Cuba, this time I accepted and had my first conversation, in Spanish, with the man who plucked my bottle from the sea.  To keep this blog from getting too long, I will tell you that Alfredo and I still write each other and have exchanged photos and small sundry items.  It turns out that Alfredo, in addition to being a fisherman, is also a baker in his village.  He promises to make me a cake when I visit him in Moa.  Additionally, he and his family strongly believe that god had a large roll in his finding my bottle and our ongoing friendship. 

Alfredo and his family in Moa Cuba

The next release was a little more scientific in nature.   I placed a detailed ocean current chart, cover letter and contact information along with the release point GPS coordinates, sea state and weather conditions into three different 14″ section of PVC pipe and secured it with two caps.  The system was water proof.  The tubes were painted day glow orange to improve the visibility.  While transiting off the coast of Baja Mexico on the M/V World,  I took my GPS readings, secured the paperwork in a plastic bag and then tossed the three capsules over the side 20 miles from one another.   Based on my calculations, those bright orange “pipe bomb” looking tubes are still marinating nicely in the Pacific current on their way to Asia.  Those messages were released in 2004.  At the time of this blog, I have not been contacted by anybody regarding those messages. 

Also in 2004, during transit off of Virginia on the M/V Seven Seas Navigator,  I released a Patron tequila bottle containing a cover letter and sheet requesting information about the location and condition of bottle at the time of recovery.  31 days after release, I was contacted by a husband and wife team that found the bottle on the beach one mile South of Atlantic City New Jersey.  They emailed  me to tell me the bottle had been recovered and the message and bottle were in “fine condition”.

During a transit off of Baja Mexico in 2005 on the M/V Elation I launched a wine bottle containing release point data and cover letter.  That bottle was recovered by some people near Rosarito Beach  Mexico.  Little information was provided by the people who found the bottle other than the message and bottle were found in “great condition”.

I currently have the following messages in bottles soaking around the world: 

2 – Wine bottles launched in the Mediterranean Sea –                                              M/V   Norwegian  Gem

2 – Wine bottles launched off of Hawaii –                                                                   M/V Pride of Aloha

3 – Wine & spirit bottles launched off of Oregon –                                                   M/V Coral Princess

2 – Wine bottles launched in the “inside passage” British Columbia (presumed lost due to rocky coast line and remote location)  M/V  Sapphire  Princess.


~ by El Toro BBQ on December 14, 2010.

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