About Message in a Bottle Hunter

About Message in a Bottle Hunter: Why I Find Messages in Bottles

Ahoy! My name is Clint Buffington, and most of the time I am a musician in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sometimes, I find messages in bottles and share the stories of the people who sent them. I also help connect others who have sent or found messages in bottles, because, if you ask me, every new friendship makes the world…well, friendlier! And I think we could use a bit more of that. Don’t you? This is why I started Message in a Bottle Hunter in 2011.

Here’s a little video about what I do and why.

I am perennially amazed by the power of messages in bottles. They may seem silly to some, but, personally, I find that messages in bottles have the power to connect people in profound ways. Messages in bottles create real friendships between strangers; they make people care about each other–people who never even knew each other existed before. And, especially with older messages, a message in a bottle may be the most important letter some ever receive.

Clint Buffington with messages in bottles on beach with blue water background, years before he created the message in a bottle hunter website.

Clint Buffington with messages in bottles on beach, years before “Message in a Bottle Hunter” existed.

Messages in bottles have saved lives, led to marriage, and reunited folks with lost loved ones. In my view, there’s nothing silly about them (except for the ones that are intended to be jokes, like this one.)

How I Found My First Message in a Bottle

I found my first message in a bottle in 2007. I must have walked past several thousand bottles that day—I had almost zoned out when something caught my eye: a blue bottle lying on the sand, like it had just washed up.  There was something inside! I stumbled over to the bottle and held it up, examining the contents: bright orange paper rolled up tightly and tied with a piece of string that poked out the top of the bottle which had a rubber cork. Wrapped around the message inside were two US dollars. Finding this bottle was the first step toward creating Message in a Bottle Hunter.

Blue glass wine bottle with yellow message scroll, the beginning of Message in a Bottle Hunter.

This message in a bottle was the first I ever found, and laid the foundation for my Message in a Bottle Hunter website.

That bottle sparked something in me that led to finding more messages, and led to the creation this website. The idea of finding even a single message in a bottle had always enchanted me–but to find dozens of them?! How could I NOT write about it? Before long, I expanded Message in a Bottle Hunter to include stories of messages found by others, as well as facts and research about messages in bottles.

Why I Will Always Look for Messages from the Sea

Over time, I found that most people who send messages in bottles are wonderful, kind, friendly folks, who enjoy making friends with the person on the other end of their bottle.

Thanks to a lot of walking and a lot of luck, I had the chance to be the subject of the 2019 award-winning documentary, The Tides That Bind, directed by Nick Natalicchio. This film has given me the chance to share my passion (aka “strange hobby”) with folks far and wide. Here’s the trailer for the film:

Making this film allowed me to meet Ray from Philly, who I had been seeking for over a year since I found his bottle in 2015! I also met other message in a bottle authors, and was reminded of the strange power of bottled letters to connect people who never could have met any other way.

Messages in Bottles Lead to Environmental Lesson

My hunt for messages in bottles started as pure adventure–the thrill of finding them is intense! However, although I go looking for “treasure,” what I mostly find is trash. Looking for messages in bottles opened my eyes to the staggering problem of plastic pollution in our oceans.

Finding Messages in Bottles Leads to Environmental Lesson

The sheer volume of plastic trash on our beaches and in our seas is overwhelming and a little scary. We are entering uncharted waters here: we know that human life depends on the ocean, but we don’t know what will happen as more and more plastic ends up in the ocean. We know that is chokes out marine life, kills birds, fish, and mammals, and enters the food chain. But we don’t know what will be the fallout from all of this.

Marine critters are killed by plastic trash at a rate that is both alarming and difficult to measure precisely, due to the size of the ocean and the scale of plastic pollution. Whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and all kinds of sea-dwelling birds are dying everywhere with bellies full of plastic. I see the impact of plastic on marine life everywhere I look for messages in bottles. Check out this Osprey who built a nest using the very kinds of plastic ropes that can entangle its young and itself:

The heart of this website is and always will be adventure, plain and simple. There is simply nothing on earth like the thrill of finding messages in bottles and journeying to meet the senders in distant places. This is why I find messages in bottles, after all.

But there is a bigger adventure underway–one we can all join: the adventure of learning about plastic pollution, and doing something to stop it–even if it just means picking up a plastic bottle you see on the sidewalk (and definitely never sending a message in a plastic bottle).

I hope you’ll join me as I continue to find messages in bottles and meeting the folks who send them, while shedding light on the plastic pollution crisis along the way!

21 thoughts on “About Message in a Bottle Hunter”

  1. Hi, Just heard you on the CBC. I live in Vancouver BC. I really liked your story. I like stories about people. The way I see it is if it’s on your mind you will see it. You’re not constantly thinking about it, but it’s there somewhere. When you start looking for something you tend to find it.The bottles that is.

  2. Donna Luzzi said:

    I found a message in a bottle in 1991 in Bermuda. Had been in the water since 2006-I have tried to find the young man with no luck. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Dwight B Dille said:

    Message In A Bottle,
    – My girlfriend and I in 2012 were on a cruise in the Caribbean returning from St. Martin pitched a wine bottle (barefoot brand- greenish-clear color )- into the ocean from our balcony. We wrote a note , wrapped it rubber bands and sealed it with the cork and have often wondered where the bottle ended up ?
    – Dwight Dille & Connie Tincher from West Virginia. ( cell phone# 304-5539554 or 304-617-7536/ new # 304-963-1007).
    – Just curious if you would happen to have a bottle that meets that description in your treasures?
    – It was great reading the story of the note in the Coke bottle and reward ! Refreshing stories like this are few and far between , great to read them!. Keep it up!

    – Thank you ; Dwight Dille

  4. Hi, we are sended our message in a bottle. It was during the ARC 2013 (8.12.02013) at coordinates: 17 42N 45 03W

    If someone to found this bottle it a great.
    Here we have a post about bottle message (but it’s in russian language) https://www.newkaliningrad.ru/aqua/ocean/index.php?PAGEN_1=5

  5. WHY is this not on TV I love this

  6. Anonymous said:

    I am other the moon you found my message in the bottle clint
    I am getting loads of people contacting me from the papers
    its spooky that my name is Clinton and all my frenids call me clint
    that’s me nick name
    and a person called clint goes and finds it
    whats the chances in that just un real
    so to clint buffington god bless you and thank you

  7. Hi Clint! I recently discovered your name and your quirky hobby. I’m very impressed by the story of Paula Pierce and the bottle of Coke of his father .. I think the message in the bottle is an eccentric but wonderful way of communicating and expressing a great desire to relate to others. I consider you very much and I hope you’ll continue to patrol the coast in search of more and more romantic and bizarre messages. I’ll always keep it updated .. I apologize for my bad English!
    Many greetings from Italy

  8. Hi Clint! Today I discovered your incredible hobby .. I’ve always been fascinated by the messages in the bottle and I recently found a glass bottle on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Inside there was a beautiful dedication of love dated February 15, 1989 ..
    I fully share your interest and I’d like to go in search of bottles
    I apologize for the bad Italian.. greetings from italy!


  10. you are so cute!

  11. Hey i am Bruce LaClair the other half of the marriage message from the bottle you found launched from the bridge over the Delaware river in New Hope 1981. It is so cool that you found our message I am wondering where exactly did you find the bottle my e mail is laclair.bruce@gmail.com Looking forward to hearing from you.

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