The Upshot

Found: Messages in Bottles

One year ago, off the coast of Oregon, a ten-year-old boy tossed a message in a bottle into the Pacific Ocean. Weeks ago, a 9-year-old girl in Hawaii found it.

According to a popular article from the AP, Thomas Craig never expected his bottle to arrive safely in anyone's hands. He told West Hawaii Today newspaper, "I couldn't believe someone had found it. I was shocked. When I threw it overboard, it hit the top of my grandpa's boat so I thought it broke and sank. The chances of someone finding it seemed like a once-in-a-million type thing."

His seafaring send-and-receive beat the odds when Trinity Ballesteros of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, saw the bottle washed up on the beach. The note inside read: "Dear finder of my message, my name is Thomas and I live in Oregon. I'm ten years old and this week I'm salmon fishing deep in the ocean. I would like to hear from you."

Trinity responded (via email) to Thomas, who had included his mom's email address. Since then, the two plan to become pen pals (of the digital variety).

But that isn't the only message in a bottle making waves on the Web. Near Florida, a man found another missive that had been floating in glass for 50 years. A hotel owner had put the message out to sea with a note that said anyone who returns the bottle to the hotel will get a $150 reward.

You can watch it below.

The reward was, according to the man's daughter, a joke the man was playing on his wife, who managed the hotel. He thought it would be fun to see her reaction when a stranger came in asking for $150.

Flash forward 50 years. A man finds the message and tracks down the man's daughter, who now runs her late father's hotel. The woman's reaction was pure shock and disbelief, mixed with a lot of memories of her father's playfulness.

And there are many more stories like this. Just last year, we reported on a high school student who dropped a message in a bottle off the coast of Florida. A year and a half later, he got a response all the way from Ireland. Today, the bottle has a place of honor in an Irish pub.

One of the most moving stories goes back to 1979. Dorothy and John Henry Peckham threw a message into the Pacific Ocean while on a cruise. Six years later the bottle was picked up by 31-year-old Hoa Van Nguyen in Southeast Asia. A correspondence began that led to the Peckhams helping sponsor Nguyen and his family's immigration to the United States.

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