I Wrote a Message In a Bottle & Released It in the Middle of the Atlantic Ocean

by | Last updated Apr 3, 2024 | Seaman's Life | 0 comments

I actually wrote three. But I don’t know if the bottles or the messages inside survived.

The bottle probably broke and sank under the sea after getting rammed by some boats. Or maybe the cap gave in, allowing water inside the glass and eventually burying it underwater before it could reach ashore.

A million things could happen, and I entrusted it to the vast oceans.

But whatever happened to it, I’m hopeful that one day, it will connect me to someone even if I totally forgot about the bottle’s existence.

Why write a message in a bottle?

I wrote a message in a bottle because I want something from the past to connect with someone in the future.

After pondering whether to make one, I was convinced that writing my thoughts and sealing them in a piece of glass was a timeless act.

The letter is not addressed to a specific receiver and is even random. Would the letters still be legible when someone finds them?

I fully embraced the unknown even before I started making them.

A letter without a receiver

Today’s tech can never match the thrill of making and receiving a letter enclosed in a glass container drifting in endless waves for decades.

When you send a post or tweet, nobody will be thrilled to read it unless you are Elon Musk.

Furthermore, it is not a finder’s keepers game where whoever sees the post first gets to own it.

But it’s different from the message in a bottle.

You don’t expect likes or comments.

When you send one, there is no official receiver and instant reply. That’s why it crosses time and distance. Your past thoughts are carried forward to the future even if you no longer exist.

And yes, whoever finds your tiny time capsule gets to own it.

Red and blue paper with written messages with the endless blue ocean in front.
I have to blur the message because there will be a reward to whoever will find it.

Who should write a message in a bottle?

Anybody can write a letter and seal it in a bottle. An article from Treehugger showcased twelve such stories written by different people, some of whom were sailors.

Those were not the seasons for fads, trends, or fomo.

It was clear that they had a message to deliver to the unknown, even if some bottles reached hands after a hundred years!

But today, I don’t encourage anyone to make them. One reason is MARPOL or the marine pollution regulation.

Any seafarer knows this, and people could go to jail if more and more bottles are washed ashore with some notes and a return address.

I still made them

But I did write some because of the contrarian in me.

During my decade at sea, I never saw anyone on my ship or heard stories on Saturday nights that they made a message in a bottle.

Even social media was quiet about it.

And so, the contrarian in me kicked in and decided to make not just one but three.

If this were all over the internet and everyone was on it, I would avoid creating a message in a time capsule.

What’s inside the bottle?

Could be anything!

While most of the contents inside the bottle are messages written on a piece of paper, some find odd things, like the ashes of a cremated person

Others include a few dollars rolled within the paper and tied with a rope.

Whatever it is, write something positive that will make the unknown receiver smile.

My inspiration for writing

In my case, I wrote some well-wishing poetry inside the glass of one of the bottles. The other two were a bit longer.

I’m fond of writing and drinking, so the perfect inspiration overflowed while I sat outside the accommodation and witnessed the beautiful sunset.

At that time, I had a lot going on in my head, so I scribbled to my heart’s content. The movies I watched and the books I read also made it on that paper.

I also made sure to give a reward to whoever received the bottle.

A green bottle with a letter inside it placed surrounded by various tools all on the green table.
Second bottle with a letter inside ready to be released.

Where is the perfect “waters” to send the message?

When you are one thousand miles away from the nearest land, that is the best place to release your bottle into the sea.

The Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans could be the perfect places. They are vast, and the ocean currents and wind will carry your letter anywhere. 

This adds more uncertainty to where your message could land.

I did send one of my bottles while navigating the Mediterranean Sea, but I still have yet to receive a reply.

The other capsules were in the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic Ocean.

Meanwhile, a child in the U.K. threw her message in a bottled letter in the English Channel, and it ended up in Australia! Talk about a 10,000-mile trip to the ocean.

A paper rolled on the table beside a cork cap, scissors, and a green wine glass.
Making sure the bond paper with my message would fit inside the bottle.

How to make a message in a bottle

Writing a message in a bottle is one of the 99 reasons I love working on board.

After realizing my lapses on those glass capsules I sent, here are helpful tips on sending a message in a bottle.

1. Use a wine bottle with a cork as its cap. Avoid using bottles with metal caps, as they get rusted and destroyed.

2. Match your bottle size to the size of the paper you will use. Ideally, you should be able to roll the paper inside without folding it.

3. Use large, clear, and easy-to-read handwriting. This ensures your letter will still be readable even after a hundred years.

4. Add your personality to the letter and wish the receiver well.

5. Include your contact details and a reward, depending on your message. One of the rewards I offered was a cryptocurrency.

6. Don’t forget the date, and be truthful about it.

7. Add extra sealing to the cork.

8. Don’t send it on landlocked seas like the Caspian or Black Sea.

9. Release your message in a bottle in the middle of the ocean.

May the winds be in your favor.



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