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2022 Delivered Amazing Examples of Messages in Bottles

Every year brings fascinating new message in a bottle stories… But 2022 was in a league of its own, with one mind-boggling message in a bottle story after another! 2022 was like the “Summer of Love” but for bottled messages. It’s hard to imagine another year ever containing the sheer multitude of powerful message in a bottle stories that this year gave us, though 2016 wasn’t too shabby.

The examples of messages in bottles from 2022 below cover the whole range: Some are “young,” some are “old,” some traveled far, others did not. All, however, brought joy to the people involved. All created beautiful connections that would never be possible any other way.

Who says magic isn’t real?

11 Amazing Messages in Bottles from 2022

1. World’s Oldest Message in a Bottle Found Under Floor in Scotland

The history of messages in bottles associated with Scotland is just mind-boggling. There’s the story of the sisters who “reunited” with their father through a decades-old message in a bottle found during a home renovation. There’s the story of a man who stumbled into a nearly century old message in a bottle from his own father. There was the search for Scottish “Donkeyman” James Robertson stemming from a 46 year old message in a bottle we solved a few years ago.

For a while, years ago, the oldest message in a bottle ever found was Scottish in terms of both sender (Glasgow School of Navigation) and finder (Scotland’s own Andrew Leaper). That bottled message was 98 years old when Andrew Leaper found it. Since then, several older bottles have been found. When a 132 year old message in a bottle was found a few years back, many thought this record would never be broken. But here we are in 2022, when, apparently, anything is possible!

This year, a 135 year old message in a bottle was found under the floorboards of a home in Edinburgh, Scotland. This message in a bottle is now the world’s oldest! The story of the discovery and the message itself is worth a read.

Found in 2022, this 135 year old message in a bottle is now the oldest ever found.

Found in 2022, this 135 year old message in a bottle is now the oldest ever found.

2. Woman Finds 22 Year Old Message in Bottle; Her Son Knows the Author!

Some message in a bottle stories are so incredible that they are hard to believe, even for me! Kathy Grace’s discovery of a message in a bottle from 2000 is a great example of a truly amazing message in a bottle.

At baseline, it is staggering to find a message in a bottle. But Kathy? She was speechless when her son told her, after he saw the message, that it was signed by a guy he’d gone to college with and currently worked with! In fact, he texted back to Kathy a picture of himself with Roman (who buried the MIB along with siblings in March of 2000).

21 year old message in a bottle from 2022 sent by friend of finder's son.

You really must check out the story from WINK in Fort Meyers, and the video, to get a sense of how staggering this story truly is. In addition to the incredible coincidences, it’s also a rare case where we can watch the “sending” of the bottle.

3. 1989 Message in a Bottle Offers Family a Final Chance to Connect

Some messages in bottles defy physics by containing far more than the bottle’s capacity allows. Some contain whole worlds, like this one.

It’s one of the most breathtaking, touching, downright neat messages in bottles from 2022, and it was discovered by Billy Mitchell of Big River Shipbuilders on April 5th.

Mitchell (with the company’s salvage crew) found the bottle bobbing in a diversion canal. After getting the letter out of the bottle, he noticed the paper was wet. Mr. Mitchell microwaved the letter to dry it out a little, and may have become the first person ever to microwave a message in a bottle in the process!

At first, the Big River Shipbuilders crew thought they were looking for someone with the last name “Tahl.” However, it turned out to be “Dahl,” as in Brian Dahl, who had sent the bottled letter as part of a class project in 1989. Tragically, Brian died unexpectedly in 2007. The full story, laid out by the Clarion Ledger, is well worth a read. As you can imagine, this news completely floored Brian’s family! They expressed shock, joy, and deep gratitude toward the finders of the bottled note for giving them one last chance to connect with their beloved son.

“It’s like something in a fictitious novel or something you’d see on TV,” father Eric Dahl told the Clarion Ledger. “To see Brian’s handwriting from when he was 11 or 12 years old — it was miraculous.

“It was a gift from on high. We’re a praying family and this is a part of God’s providence.”

4. Men Reunited With 27 Year Old Message in a Bottle

Brian Dahl’s is not the only significant story about a Brian and a message in a bottle from 2022. Like Brian Dahl’s story, Brian Standefer’s message in a bottle tale is bittersweet, through and through.

In 1995, Brian Standefer and three friends tossed a message in a bottle “into a bayou in La Marque, Tex., near Galveston Bay,” according to the Washington Post.

Time rolled on and the boys forgot about their message in a bottle.

About a year and a half before the message was discovered, one of the boys who signed the note, Travis Casler, died tragically of a heart attack. Brian and the other boys behind the note mourned the untimely loss of their friend and brother (Lance Casler, Travis’s brother, also signed the note), as Brian explained to Fox 26.

Even through all the reminiscing about their youthful days together, none of the surviving authors of the note remembered it – until 2022.

According to the Washington Post, Terry “P.J.” Pettijohn, commissioner of the Keep La Marque Beautiful Commission, found the “aqua blue Clearly Canadian water bottle partially buried in compacted mud along the shore” on July 16th.

Terry Pettijohn called the phone numbers on the letter in the bottle. They led nowhere. Thankfully, the social media community was willing to help! Soon Terry and Brian met, and the whole story came into focus.

“To me, it was meant to be,” Pettijohn said of his find. “If I hadn’t gone out to look for trash that day, that bottle never would have been found.”

5. Quebec Message in a Bottle from 2000 Remains a Mystery: Where is Anna?

No year end message-in-a-bottle list would be complete without a good old fashioned mystery (that you can help solve, of course!). And this particular message in a bottle from 2022 is a mystery indeed!

Crispin Benton with 21 year old message in a bottle he found in 2022.

Crispin Benton with 21 year old message in a bottle he found in 2022. Photo: Falmouth Packet.

Message in a bottle sent written by Anna of Quebec, found in 2022.

Message in a bottle sent written by Anna of Quebec, found in 2022. Photo: Falmouth Packet.

According to The Sun, Crispin Benton was walking the beach in Cornwall when he stumbled upon a message in a bottle. The bottle contained a short sweet note from a 6 year old girl named Anna. She lived at an address in Quebec that is now an “industrial estate”.

So here’s the question: Do YOU know anyone named Anna from Quebec? 

Heck, if you even know anyone who lives in Quebec (especially the Montreal area), please share this story with them to help things along! We should totally be able to find Anna in the internet age – it’s just a matter of not giving up 🙂

6. Maryland Boy Finds & Resends Message in a Bottle; Loses Friend, Gains More

Sasha Yonyak was 11 when he went fishing with his good friend and neighbor, Wayne Smith, who at over 60 was much older than Sasha. But they were buddies and went fishing often. I don’t know about you, but when I was 11, my “best friend” was my dad’s age, and he took me fishing often, too. So I totally get where Sasha is coming from.

According to the Maryland Coast Dispatch, one day, Sasha and Wayne found a message in a bottle in their Ocean City marina. The message, according to Sasha, had only come from Ocean City. It encouraged the finder to “pass it on,” so Sasha and Wayne did just that. They made their own message in a bottle, featuring Sasha’s writing. In the note, he described his life and hobbies, and listed Wayne among his “buddy’s”. Then, the two took Wayne’s boat a mile off shore and sent the bottle overboard. Sasha said it just “sailed away”. Time went on and Sasha forgot about the bottle. Sadly, last year, Wayne passed away.

But then in January of 2022, Sasha received a welcome surprise. An Irish family had found his message in a bottle! Sasha is now 14, and the couple who found it have a 14 year old grandson of their own. Sasha says the connection brought back happy memories of Wayne. Check out NBC’s coverage of this lovely story – but keep reading, cause there’s more to this incredible message in a bottle story…

Sasha and the Irish family who found his and Wayne’s message in a bottle wanted to meet. Well, who doesn’t want to meet the person on the other end of a message in a bottle? Sadly, most people who meet through a message in a bottle never actually get together in person. But Sasha and his new friends were determined! Happily, in October of 2022, according to the Maryland Coast Dispatch, Sasha and his father traveled to Ireland and hung out with the finders of his MIB for 5 days! Amazing!

Sasha Yonyak with the finders of his message in a bottle in 2022.

Sasha Yonyak with the finders of his message in a bottle in 2022. Photo: Rita Simmonds / Maryland Coast Dispatch.

7. 44 Year Old Message in a Bottle Found in Virginia’s York River

Y’all know I am a sucker for cool old messages in bottles found in rivers. Two old messages in bottles were found in rivers in 2018 alone! One especially mysterious message was 39 years old, and was finally solved in 2022. The 2018 bottled message was 35 years old.

Well, on Independence Day 2022, Brian Daliege took his son for a walk along the York River in Virgina, near York River State Park. (He’s the third Brian in this list, in case you are keeping track!)

According to their interview with ABC 13 News Now, Brian and his son spotted an old bottle with paper inside on a ledge a few feet above the river’s edge. They were blown away when they realized it was a message! The message said it had been sent in the Poquoson river 44 years prior. The Dalieges found it around York River State Park. In this map, you can see that it traveled further through time than distance.

To me, the most amazing thing about this story, besides the survival of the bottle, is the fact that it didn’t go out to sea! This bottle must have caught just the right currents as it flowed out of the Poquoson river in order to turn back into the York River just north.

Anyway, Megan Daliege posted about the find on Facebook, where folks quickly helped them track down Don Kendrick, who sent the message in a bottle 44 years ago at the age of twelve. Amazing! This one for sure belongs in the message in a bottle museum 🙂

8. A COVID Message in a Bottle

As the early months of the pandemic dragged on, with life derailed for myself and so many others, I became obsessed with finding silver linings amid all that chaos and loss. I began to think of it as “the year of silver linings,” though of course it ended up stretching well beyond a year.

For a while now, I have been wondering when folks would start finding pandemic-related messages in bottles. Well, the answer seems to be 2022!

Message in a bottle found by Kyle McCarthy in 2022.

Message in a bottle found by Kyle McCarthy in 2022.

Filmmaker Kyle McCarthy was running on Long Beach, Long Island when he found a message in a bottle. Inside, he found a sweet note from Melanie Block and her niece, which read:

“We are 6 months into COVID and hoping this finds everyone safe and well. Hoping God will see fit to bless us and find a cure soon! Good thoughts and prayers to all!”

Kyle McCarthy retrieving a message from a broken glass bottle.

Kyle McCarthy retrieving a message from a broken glass bottle. Photo from Kyle’s video about the find.

Kyle got in touch with Melanie and the two reminisced about that difficult time, finding a little joy in their connection, and in the knowledge that each other has come through okay so far.

“That time period was so intense, it brought me back to that feeling, the uneasiness of what the future held,” Kyle told NBC, after his TikTok video about the find blew up.

Melanie Block was happy to report to NBC that “We got through it well, and the niece who was staying with me is now the mother of a beautiful baby boy.”

A message in a bottle; a new friendship; a healthy new baby. Year of silver linings? We now live in a world of silver linings!

9. Bottled Artwork Drifts Thousands of Miles, Creates Friendship

Hm, where have I heard that headline before? Oh yeah! I once found three pencil sketches in a bottle that resulted in a transatlantic friendship!

This time, it was Victoria Kay’s turn! At the beginning of 2020, she made a watercolor painting while visiting St. Simon’s island and set it adrift in a bottle. She included a brief message in case someone should find it.

Incredibly, over two years later, someone did find it–in France!

Martine Bosc discovered the message in a bottle with her dog, and the two women struck up a correspondence. They now plan to meet.

I love this story because only a tiny fraction of messages in bottles contain artwork. If you think finding a message in a bottle is surreal (and it is), finding actual artwork in a bottle is downright ethereal!

So, Kudos to Martine Bosc for finding this message in a bottle and reaching out to Victoria. What a beautiful, incredibly lucky way to start a friendship!

10. Message in a Bottle from 1979 Finally Solved!

When the Christopher and Emily Bland of Columbus, Georgia found a message in a bottle with their kids in 2018, they were floored. The author was a James H. Fort, and his ship had the very strange name of Squirene. Check out my original story on their find if you haven’t seen it yet!

Message in a bottle from 1979 found by the Bland family in Georgia.

So they had found Fort’s bottled letter. What next? The local news couldn’t find James H. Fort, and the Blands still had so many questions: Who was he? Why did he send letters in bottles?

This mystery sucked me in, and I spent the next 4 years trying to find James H. Fort through social media. Finally, in 2022, one person from Georgia, Mr. Dixon Olive, commented on of my Facebook posts that he had known James H. Fort, and that Mr. Fort had appeared in newspapers!

That flipped the switch! I went right down the newspaper archive rabbit hole, and was delighted to “find” James H. “Squire” Fort. He turned out to be a fascinating, funny, thoughtful, curious guy. He was a lawyer, a WWII vet (who attacked subs in the north Atlantic and participated in the Normandy invasion), a devoted sailor and message in a bottle enthusiast, and much more.  I hope you have a minute to read about him here.

I still haven’t been able to contact the Blands to let them know James H. Fort’s story. So if you know anyone in the region of Columbus, GA, please send this to them! Hopefully word will reach the Blands sooner or later. You know, like a…message in a bottle!

11. 1970s Message in a Bottle Solved by Sunderland Community

I don’t like to include myself in these lists, but I have to make an exception concerning the amazing people of Sunderland, Tyne & Wear in the UK!

I found this bedraggled message in a bottle way back in 2013. It looked so desperately fragile–hopeless, actually–that I didn’t get around to opening it until 2019. When I did, I begged the internet for help, but there just wasn’t enough info to solve it.

Fast forward to February 2022, and I decided to take another look at this message in a bottle. It had been haunting me! Somehow, I saw a few new details that allowed me to zero in on Barking Square in Sunderland.

Well, once I shared this with the Facebook world and folks from Sunderland started weighing in, it was off to the races! This message in a bottle, which baaarely survived, and stumped me for 3 years after I opened it, was solved in lightning speed by the people of Sunderland. I really think of this as their story as much as it is mine. Never have I seen a community rally so quickly and devotedly to solve a message in a bottle mystery.

I will forever be grateful to the people of Sunderland, as well as the Sunderland Echo, for helping me solve this message in a bottle and connecting me with Paddy Taylor and the whole Taylor squad!

More Year End Roundups of Amazing Real-Life Messages in Bottles

These examples of messages in bottles from 2022 are among the most moving and fascinating message in a bottle stories I can think of. But if you are in the mood for even more mind-blowing message in a bottle magic, check out the following year-end lists. There are some real doozies here!

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

Solve A Message in a Bottle! Get a Message in a Bottle in Your Email!

Follow my Facebook page and my Instagram profile to help solve future bottled mysteries! For more on messages in bottles, including links to message in a bottle history, facts, myths, and pop culture references, check out the main page for Message in a Bottle Hunter Clint Buffington! New stories appear on my message in a bottle blog, and if you subscribe to follow the blog via email, it will be like getting messages in bottles delivered right to your inbox 🙂

These examples of messages in bottles from 2022 are among the most moving and fascinating message in a bottle stories I can think of. But if you are in the mood for even more mind-blowing message in a bottle magic, check out the following year-end lists. There are some real doozies here!