Message in a Bottle « Shoot Me Now

Shoot Me NowMessage in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle
Published on Monday, April 11, 2011 by

Last Christmas my mother gave me a Message in a Bottle kit, complete with cork and sealing wax.  My daughter and I couldn’t wait to send our message out to sea.  Where would it end up?  England?  Ireland?  How long would it take before someone discovered it?

On April 4 we placed my email address and our city on a pre-printed form that was decorated with pictures of pirate ships and dolphins.  After rolling the sheet up and putting it in the bottle, we spent about twenty minutes melting and dripping sealing wax all over the cork.  I even ruined one of my mother’s spoons for this grand beach house production.  But it would all be worth it when we got that email from Africa.

message in a bottle

That Sunday, it was time to set our bottle out to sea.  My daughter and I went back and forth on who should throw it in.  “Mom, you can get it out further.”  “That’s fine, but you are more than welcome to throw it if you like!”  “No, you go ahead, Mom.”

beach bottle

I thought about my toss for a few minutes.  Underhanded?  Overhanded?  Sideways?  I went for the overhand toss, with a bit of a run before I threw.  To my great embarrassment, I threw like a girl.  The bottle went about three feet in front of me and landed on the hard sand.  My daughter turned to me and said, “Fail.”  Well I can’t help it, I was excited!

My second throw was better, plunging it  in to the actual water.  From there we watched it float down the coast, bobbing on the occasional ripple of this waveless day.


Today I received an email from the family who found our bottle!  Could it have been carried across the ocean that quickly?  Wow, there must have been some storms!  But alas, this was not quite how it all played out.  The finders discovered it a day after we tossed it, just a few miles away.  Here is their email:

We found your message ashore on a beach between Duck and Corolla on 4/5/11.  We are from Hershey, PA and were on vacation there.  We think that you had a really cool idea and finding the bottle caused quite a stir in our group (15 people).

The Kerchner Family

I’ve already planned a new strategy for our next bottle, because there WILL be another bottle.  During the summer, visitors rent ocean kayaks to ride in the waves.  I am sure one of them will be happy to paddle our bottle past the breakers, and possibly across the sand dune.  If this plan fails, my daughter and I can ask one of the local fishermen to take it on their next run.

In the meantime, I am so happy our message was found, no matter how close to home it was discovered.  Our “little bottle that could” did its very best, considering I throw like a girl!

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  • I think you should do both (the kayakers AND the local fishermen).
    But it looks like you already made people’s day with your first bottle!

  • How fun. I would love to do something like this. I do like your plan for the next bottle though. I think it will result in getting the bottle further away. Way cool.

    Have a terrific day. 🙂

  • What a cool story Katherine. it must have been awesome to relax at the beach and shoot bottle messages out in the surf. Sorry it didn’t travel to Africa or other far away places. I am sure the next bottle will, I can see the determination in your voice 🙂

  • Oh wow. I still think it’s VERY cool someone found it – and replied to your message in a bottle – even though it didn’t travel very far!

  • What a fun idea to do with your daughter!
    And here I thought you had to be marooned on a desert island to do something like this! 😉

  • Lindamcornell

    You are such a wonderful writer… just sayin’.

    Lucky for all of us that you took photos to illustrate the story of the big day. And I especially liked the big blob of wax sealing the bottle. Nice work!

    I think this would be alot of fun and I’m glad your bottle got found! : )

  • Ok, that is the coolest idea ever. And there’s a KIT??? I feel a massive online search coming on Katherine!

    I’ll be looking out for your next bottle when we are on the beach this summer… just in case (-:

  • That sounds like such a fun idea. Where can you get those kits? They would make great gifts for beach goers.

    • I don’t have the box with me – it is back in NC… but I found it in a gift shop in Corolla. If you “google” “message in a bottle” you will see the kit pictured on my post… you can buy them online. I love it because the box is so pretty – it is in my room at the cottage as a decoration and a memory of my daughter’s and my adventure!

  • Such a great idea!! Can’t wait to hear about the next bottles journey. 🙂

  • Nana

    Back in the olden days (late 1960’s), my DH found a message-in-a-bottle at Fire Island. He had to break the bottle to read the message, which had been thrown into the surf a day before by a Boy Scout troop…perhaps 50 feet further down the beach. We decided it would be kinder not to write to them! Let them think it was out in the ocean somewhere…
    How unnecessary to buy a kit! [Honestly, young people today!] A sturdy Coke bottle…cloth around the top, dipped in several layers of candle wax…this isn’t rocket science, people

    • You ROCK… now I know how to do it WITHOUT the kit! Actually we saw the kit in a store and I admired it… the box was beautiful. So mom surprised me by getting it and giving it to me months later – a really neat surprise. I had wondered about sealing the bottle so no water gets in… the cloth and wax makes sense!

      I love your boy scout story. Two of my guys were scouts and I can;picture that happening. I bet to this day the troop members think back to that bottle and wonder where it landed!

  • It doesn’t matter that it was found close to home, I think the whole thing is just wonderful. I want to try it myself. You just never know who you could connect with. It’s like a story waiting to be written. Can’t wait to try it!

    • You should try it and post about it… let me know what happens!!!!

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  • OMG, what a cool idea! I’m not near an ocean, so I guess the idea is out for me. Unless I want river people to pick up my bottle.

    I love that you said you threw like a girl. Better luck next time. Maybe you need a rocket launcher?

    • I need a yard-a-pult! Did you ever see that on SNL? It is a great way to get rid of your garbage, by yard-a-pulting it in to your neighbors. That would be the perfect thing to hurl a bottle through the air and out to sea!

  • What a fantastic idea! When I was a kid, I always wanted to *find* a message in a bottle. Maybe you could throw it when the current is heading north? 🙂

    • Yes, North it is!!! We will be there this weekend… I will have to get a bottle somewhere and try again!!!

  • OK OK what’s going on over there????? Where are the new posts, huh, huh??? Lets get the lead out and get cracking.

    • I will TELL you what is going on here… they are working me like a DOG, MOB! I am helping one other person install two entire physician offices.. basically hard labor for an entire day all week. And yes, while I pride myself on my ability to kick butt, I am… umm… well… TIREDDDDD! 🙂 (she said with only one eye open…)

  • Very cool! Great first test run. Maybe next time use a jet ski.

    • A jet ski is a great idea…! We actually made ANOTHER one just before we left today… we threw it in about 15 times and it kept coming back so we tossed it in to the sound… I’m sure it won’t get out to the ocean, but my daughter requested it so we did it. 🙂

  • No doubt it an interesting story

  • Chatmais

    it would be nice if that bottle got “lost” for a few years

    chat lisboa

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