Our Message In A Bottle Tossed Back To Sea


Our Message In A Bottle Tossed Back To Sea

jean holds message in a bottle over side of BC ferry

I was filled with anticipation when Bob and I boarded the B.C. ferry returning to Horseshoe Bay from Vancouver Island because it was from the ferry that I planned to cast adrift our Message in a Bottle.  It had been over a year since we found the bottle that contained an inspiring message from its authors.

Message sits inside a bottle

At Milne Park Conservation Area in Markham, Ontario, the bottle had washed up onto the piles of debris at one end of the small lake there, and lay languishing in amongst dead leaves and broken tree limbs.  That was back in December, 2012.

Message in a bottle on shore of Rouge River - Markham - Ontario

At first we thought the bottle was simply some discarded beverage container, but the symmetrical contours of something white seen through the clear glass drew us in for a closer look.


We waited until we were back at our home before cracking open the wax and cork seal and found within an inspiring and intriguing message from four young girls.

The names in the bottle

Only four sets of initials gave any clue as to the girls’ identities, but they urged the retrievers of the message to send an email to them.  It took several months before one of the girls replied with a promise to contact us again soon.  It was many months later that we finally signed off with each other, and I had made a promise to set the Message in a Bottle afloat once again.

BC Ferry Of Vancouver Island 1

Bob and I had already missed several opportunities to relaunch the missive because I wanted to get the girls’ approval before doing so.  We live close to the shore of Lake Ontario, and certainly the Great Lakes might have carried the bottle far and wide.  The Colorado River had been another option where the bottle could possibly have been carried a great distance.  Finally, though, Bob and I settled on the Pacific Ocean off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, as a good place to launch our own message, an addendum to the one we had found.

BC ferry off BC coastline

When we exited the warm confines of the ferry’s main observation area, we found that we were the only two people foolish enough to brave the conditions on deck at amidships.  It was a very grey, damp day, and when exposed to the elements on the ferry’s upper deck, we found the winds to be so fierce that they might whip us overboard.  In fact, the wind did tear off Bob’s hat.

BC flag flying aboard BC ferry

Bob and I wanted to launch the bottle a good distance from Vancouver Island but not too close to the mainland that it might float ashore immediately.

BC coastline viewed from BC ferry

As we drew within sight of the mountains near Horseshoe Bay, we figured the time was about right.  The ferryboat was moving quickly, so we could not delay, but it was necessary to do things right…document the process properly.

jean holds the message in a bottle

I demonstrated the heavy coating of wax that was required to seal the bottle against salt water, a job that occupied about 30 minutes of my time back at home,

message in a bottle before casting it back to sea

I spoke about the special items placed in the bottle to draw attention to it should it be seen bobbing on the water,

jean holds message in a bottle on BC ferry

and I reminded Bob of my message written on the missive encased in the bottle.

jean prepares to toss message in a bottle - BC

With everything appropriately documented, I proceeded to the railing of the deck,

message in a bottle tossed back to sea - 1

held the bottle aloft,

message in a bottle tossed back to sea - 2

and then gave it a hearty toss overboard so that it would clear the white wake of the ferryboat.

message in a bottle tossed back to sea - 3

I was hoping to have a clear view of the bottle as it drifted into the distance on the waves behind us.

message in a bottle cast back to sea - 7

Alas, the fierce winds forced the bottle back a short distance towards me and had it landing in the flotsam right beside the ferry’s hull.

jean and bob aboard BC ferrry

Nevertheless, our mission was accomplished.  There was no going back.

waves off stern of bc ferry

Before returning to the warmth of the cabin, Bob and I gazed at the ship’s wake knowing that our Message in a Bottle lay somewhere there behind us on the open sea.  We wonder how long it will be before someone finds our dispatch, or if we will ever hear anything of it again.

ON GOING UPDATE:  As of February 2020, still no contact has been made with us in response to our Message in a Bottle.

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