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Best Messages in Bottles of 2017

Ahhhh…time for end-of-year lists. Here at Message in a Bottle Hunter, I’m taking a break from opening bottles to round up the best messages in bottles of 2017. Each year brings new surprises, and I think the MIBs in this list are just as fascinating and lovely as the best of 2015 and 2016. Here’s hoping you enjoy this list of 2017’s best message in bottles! They all belong in the ol’ message in a bottle museum 🙂

An Album in a Bottle

Leading off the list of the best messages in bottles from 2017 is a really cool one! Icelandic musician Ásgeir sealed a musical album in a “bottle” and dropped it in the sea of Iceland!

Best messages in bottles - Asgeir album in a bottle.

Ásgeir sealing his “message in a bottle”. Photo: Ásgeir.

There is so much to love about this message in a bottle. First, the motivation behind it, according to Ásgeir is to raise awareness about ocean pollution, and you guys know how I feel about that. The more people–especially people with platforms–who discuss that issue publicly, the better. We have a serious pollution crisis on our hands–kudos to Ásgeir for raising awareness about it.

This message in a bottle is part of a series of unique albums Ásgeir recorded and hid to inspire a massive “treasure hunt” among his fans. The world is a bleak place, and we need this kind of joyful adventure!

Finally, I love that this message in a bottle is not really in a bottle at all, but rather is sealed in this high-tech looking container, equipped with GPS so we can all track it (by clicking here) and see where it ends up! So cool, right? Definitely one of the best messages in bottles of 2017.

Scottish Mothers Connect via Message in a Bottle

Best messages in bottles - Scottish mothers

Everything about this story is amazing and inspiring and heartbreaking all at once. I wrote about it in a previous blog post (click here to read it), but look–this message in a bottle highlights everything that is beautiful about strangers connecting in this timeless way. Two mothers who lost their children were connected by a message in a bottle. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

1982 Message in a Bottle Reconnects Scottish Sisters With Deceased Father

Best messages in bottles - Scottish sisters reunite with father

We all understand that when a person passes away, we will never hear from them again.

That is exactly what makes messages in bottles so powerful: they give us one last chance to connect with a beloved person we have lost, which is what happened this year for two Scottish women when they received a message in a bottle from their deceased father who had written it and hid it in a fireplace in 1982. Sometimes the best messages in bottles never leave dry land. Click here for the full story.

1982 Message in a Bottle: Who is Nigel Hanlon?

Best messages in bottles - Nigel Hanlon Australia

Huh–I guess several messages in bottles from 1982 were found this year. Cool!

Well, this one makes the list because it is so mysterious and remains unsolved. Somehow, this guy seems to have disappeared after he sent his message in a bottle. No one has been able to find him.

I keep hoping that folks will share this story in Australia and eventually we will track him down, but so far, Nigel Hanlon has been harder to find than a message in a bottle. Maybe YOU will be the one to solve this mystery message? Click here for the full story and details!

1948 Message in a Bottle from Eugene J. McNamara

Best messages in bottles - WWII

Obviously, any message in a bottle tied to WWII (like this one) is fascinating and deserves attention. But this one, hidden for decades in the roof of a hotel in Japan, is downright flummoxing. Who was Eugene J. McNamara? And why did he live next door to General Douglas MacArthur–supreme commander of Allied powers?

Click here for the full story, including exclusive info in the comments from a man who worked in the hotel at the time.

90 Year Old Man Discovers 83 Year Old Message in a Bottle from Father

Best messages in bottles - Scottish man reunites with father

The title says it all, right? Definitely one of the best messages in bottles of 2017.

I mean, can you imagine–can you imagine–walking into a local museum, chatting with the staff, and discovering that they possessed an 83 year old message in a bottle that you realize with a shock was written by your father? When I try to imagine all this, my brain liquefies and dribbles out onto my shoulder. Click here for the full story.

Obviously, this is not only one of the coolest messages in bottles discovered in 2017, it is one of the most amazing messages in bottles ever found by anyone, period.

Madelyn and Wyatt

Childhood is magic; messages in bottles are magic. Put them together and you get BIG MAGIC!

Sometimes, a message in a bottle is sent by a kiddo and found by an adult, or sent by an adult and found by a kiddo–but this might be the only message in a bottle both sent and found by kids. I just love it. Click here for the full story.

Obviously this one is also on the list because we all hope they grow up and get married. Right? Or am I the only one thinking that?

1987 Message in a Bottle: We Tried to Sail Away

Best messages in bottles - 1987 Message in a bottle

Here’s another message in a bottle that makes the 2017 list because it’s just so mysterious and crazy! Paul Southworth was picking up litter at Arastradero Lake in California when he discovered a glass bottle containing a bizarre letter. The note claims that the writers dropped it in the Atlantic ocean in 1987. If you are a geography scholar, you know that it is impossible for a message in a bottle to end up in a California lake if it was dropped in the Atlantic. And yet, the date is authentic (the letter is very old). This is bananas! What the heck happened?

Well, so far, no one knows–it remains unsolved. Click here to read the full story–and maybe YOU can be the one to solve it!

1930s Message in a Bottle Reunites Indianapolis Woman with Grandfather

Best messages in bottles - 1930s message in a bottle

An unusually high number of this year’s best messages in bottles were found on land, and this one might be the most amazing. I hesitate to say that, because it sounds like I am tooting my own horn, since I helped solve this message in a bottle. But I have to tell you, solving this bottle and reuniting it with the granddaughter of the man who sent it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Click here for the full story.

1970 Donkeyman Message in a Bottle

Best messages in bottles - Donkeyman

Bernd Igwerks, with the 46 Year Old Message in a Bottle He Found. Photo courtesy: Nomo Online / nomo-norderney.de

2017 started off with a fascinating find when Bernd Igwerks discovered a 46-year-old message in a bottle on the small island of Norderney in the North Sea above Germany. It was signed by James “Donkeyman” Robertson.

What on earth is a Donkeyman? Or who? Well, you brilliant readers were quick to point out that “Donkeyman” was a position in the boiler room of a ship back in the day.

Then, loads of you helped share the story and generate interest, and, in the end, James Robertson himself wrote into this blog, solving the mystery of his half-century-old note! Click here for the full story.

William Shuford’s Bottle Answered After 28 Years

Best messages in bottles - William Shuford

William Shuford was just 12 when he sent his message in a bottle from an island in the river by Detroit in 1989. It was destined to travel farther through time than space… William’s bottle was discovered this year not very far from where he launched it in 1989, but a thousand lifetimes have passed since then. Click here for the full story.

This message in a bottle captures everything lovely about MIBs: History, family, coming of age, impossible friendships, even the litter they wash up with.

Connecticut Teen’s 10 Year Old Message in a Bottle Mystery Solved

Best messages in bottles - Amanda Tattersall

Amanda sent her message in a bottle in the Quinnipiac river in 2007 and promptly forgot about it. Then, this year, volunteers cleaning up the river found it–but they couldn’t find her. So, I helped! Click here for the full story.

Here’s to a Great 2018!

So there you have it, sports fans! The best messages in bottles of 2017. It was another great year for messages in bottles, the friendships they create, and the amazing stories they bring to life. I have a feeling that 2018 is going to be a great year, too. Especially if we all go into it remembering the crucial thing that messages in bottles teach us: We all have the potential–no, the power–to connect, and people who are strangers to you today are simply friends you haven’t had the chance to meet yet 🙂

Here are the other end of year lists of the best messages in bottles:

9 Awesome Messages in Bottles Found in 2015

9 Great Messages in Bottles From 2016

Best Messages in Bottles of 2017

8 Great Messages in Bottles From 2018

11 Incredible Messages in Bottles from 2022

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Let’s celebrate the coming of the New Year with a song! “Empty Hearts” by Josh Ritter should do the trick–he sings “Don’t let me into this year with an empty heart,” and somehow it always makes me feel better about the passing of time.

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