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I was totally blown away by how many cool stories there were this year about real messages in bottles. It’s downright inspiring!

Here are some of the coolest stories I came across this year, in no particular order. In 2016, I hope to carry with me the spirit of camaraderie and friendship, hope, healing, peace, and love embodied by these messages and the people (and pups!) who sent and found them.

#1: A Friendship Reignited by a Message in a Bottle

In this story, a group of old friends who hadn’t seen each other much lately finds their friendship revived by the arrival in the mail of a message in a bottle they’d sent together in 1999. It was found in the Philippines and returned just recently. Sweeeet!

Old Friends Note

Photo: KING 5 News

#2 Love, Loss, and Hope in a Bottle

A man who lost his wife of nearly 40 years–the love of his life–wrote a tribute to her, put it in a bottle, and released it into the sea. Now, the finders and sender hope to meet in person and build on their budding friendship.

Love, Loss, and Hope in a Bottle

Gerry and Mary-Ann McDonald With Message in a Bottle. Photo: Nigel Hallett.

#3 The Boston Time Capsule Left by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams in 1795

Ok, ok–while technically not a message in a bottle, this time capsule is so cool, and the spirit of it is so similar to a message in a bottle, that I had to include it. I mean, this is THE Paul Revere and THE Sam Adams we’re talking about! Ridiculously cool.

#4 The World’s Oldest Message in a Bottle Washes Ashore in Germany

I’ve posted on this bottle before, because it’s so cool. It’s still cool. It will always be cool even when an older message is found. This message in a bottle is at least 108 years old. 108! Madness! Here’s an audio version of the story.

Winkler 108 Year Old Message in a Bottle

Photo: Marianne Winkler and Winkler Family

#5 This Message in a Bottle, Found Floating in the Sea by a Man While Snorkeling!

There you are…snorkeling along over a reef…you look up to clear your goggles…what’s that floating there? Oh great. Another piece of trash. Better grab it so you can recycle it when you get home… But wait… there’s something in it… It’s a rolled up piece of paper! Gaaahhhh!!!

And oh, by the way, there was ANOTHER message in a bottle found in 2015 while it was floating in the freaking ocean. How can this be?! Here’s the other story.

Other Swimming Message

Photo: Rory Golden, Bottle Finder

Good grief. I need to swim more.

#6 The Woman Who Sent This Bottle in 1975 Rewarded the Finders With Coffee and Chocolate When They Found it in 2015 After 40 Years at Sea.

I just love this story–it’s a message written by two kids who forget about it. 40 years later, a young couple finds the note, and connect with the sender, now a scientist, who gifts them coffee and chocolate from her Hawaiian farm as a reward.

But I have to admit, as meticulous as I am about opening messages in bottles, that watching the video of the finder breaking this bottle on a windy beach where the wind blows the fragile old notes down the shoreline as they are chased by a curious and possibly hungry dog gave me such bad anxiety I almost passed out. Next time, Mikki, pretty please open the bottle at home–spare my heart!

#7 This Heartbreaking, Bittersweet Message in a Bottle From a Bright Young Girl

Delaney Riley, 10 years old, was a special young lady–you can tell that just from reading the message she wrote with her best friend Abigail in June 2015. Tragically, Delaney died suddenly from an undetected heart defect en route to school one morning in Fall 2015. A few weeks later, her message was found. The finders, incredibly, were another pair of young girls–also best friends, and the same ages as Riley and her friend Abigail. They returned the message to Delaney’s family. Delaney is described as someone wise beyond her years, and I feel compelled to echo the sentiment she and Abigail share in their message: GIRLS RULE! So wonderful that Delaney’s family was able to receive one last letter from her.

#8 This Rescue Dog Found a Message in a Bottle and Shared it With her Human

Idris Martin 2

Sheba, the Rescue Dog! Photo: Idris Martin

Sheba, a rescue dog, prefers to play fetch with bottles full of water–apparently she doesn’t go in much for the traditional sticks or balls. One day while playing on the beach, Idris Martin, her trainer, threw a bottle for her, but Sheba returned with a different bottle–one containing rolls of paper. The papers turned out to include a note and several drawings from children.

Idris Martin 4

Photo: Idris Martin

Sent from the coast of Bulgaria over a year earlier, the bottle had to float a crazy route to reach the coast of England, as shown in the map below.

Idris Martin 3

Map Credit: The Dodo

While looking at the map, you may have forgotten how sweet Sheba is, so here she is again, with her human:Idris Martin 1

#9 Message in a Bottle Sent by Boy to Pirates Receives Pirate Reply 2 Years Later

As The Little Prince so astutely observes, grown-ups are often… well… uninspiring. So it’s refreshing to learn of a few willing to be the pirates that Archie (I mean Aaarrrrrchie!), age 9, sought with his message in a bottle. A little more whimsy and imagination would do this world a lot of good, don’t you think?

Here’s to a happy and imaginative 2016!

Cheers for now, ye scurvy bilge-rats!