Message In A Bottle

My title here Message in a Bottle is also the title of a 1999 American romantic drama film directed by Luis Mandoki and based on a novel with the same name by Nicholas Sparks, but in this case it refers to something completely different!

Most people think of a message in a bottle as a beachcomber’s mystery find. In this case there was no mystery, but lots of adventure! The story was posted on the MR BONE HEAD Facebook page. You never know what you will find on the beach!

From Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel & Resort

Judi and the message bottle

Judi and the message bottle – photo – Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel & Resort

So one of our owners Judi was walking on the beach this morning cleaning up the junk that washed into shore and finds a bottle with a message in it. There is also some sand and 2 one dollar bills.

Once we get it open and read the notes we find out that it is in fact NOT sand. It is the ashes of this woman’s husband of 70 years named Gordon. She writes that He loved to travel so she sent him traveling in a bottle with a note and money for someone to call home and tell her where he landed.

He started at Big Pine Key [Florida] (point A on the map below) in March of 2012 and then went to Islamerada [Florida] (point B) where someone found him. They added a note and sent him traveling again and he landed on our beach in Key Colony (point C).

Judi called the wife in Tennessee who was excited to know of Gordon’s travels! Judi added her note, we put him in a rum bottle (you know added a little fun to his trip) with the three notes. We added another dollar in case Gordon travels far and a long distance call is needed.

We will be having a memorial service or celebration of his life on our beach later today before sending him on his way again. Only our sister Judi could find a dead guy on our beach!

This is an amazing true story


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 When I shared this on my Facebook page one of my friends wrote:

LOL John, If they send him off on the Atlantic side of the Keys he is bound for either Greenland or Iceland and will freeze his Ashes off!


Anyways, this crazy story and the above comment about “freezing his ashes off” brought to mind another misguided attempt at distributing loved-ones ashes.

My wife Karen and I carried her deceased mother’s ashes by car from Prince Rupert, BC, Canada to Jasper, Alberta, Canada in 1983 to be released in a river to take her back to the Pacific Ocean to be near the town where she was born – Victoria, BC.

Arctic WatershedUnfortunately we did not comprehend the geography of the Continental Divide which “separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into . . . the Arctic Ocean.” – Wikipedia See the Arctic watershed map at left from the Canadian Geographic article Explore Canada’s ocean watersheds.

We released the ashes into a river that took her to the Arctic Ocean! We did not find out our error until we returned home and by then it was too late. We hoped that someone would supply her with a fur coat!

The Great Divide (red)

The Great Divide (red)

Just as a matter of explanation, on the above map, Jasper, Alberta, Canada is located just above the point on the map called Snow Dome sitting on the red line.

The river into which we poured the ashes was north of Snow Dome, between the red and the blue lines, so her ashes travelled north to the Arctic Ocean rather than west to the Pacific Ocean. Now we know!


And just to add fun to this story, a September 14, 2013 news article by CTV says Message in a bottle washes up on Vancouver Island after 107 years.

A British Columbia man has discovered what could be the oldest message in a bottle ever found.
Steve Thurber, of Courtenay B.C., found the century-old bottle washed up on a beach along Vancouver Island’s west coast, near Tofino. Read more: