Couple Replies to 30-Year-Old Message in a Bottle, Gets Response from 4400 Miles Away


A message in a bottle: Mentioned in song lyrics, seen in television shows, and even appearing in the title of a movie and the book it is based on, it is something we’ve all heard about but few of us have ever written or found. But for one Florida couple, finding one was just the beginning of the amazing and fun journey.

They live in the Florida Keys and are very active in the Elks Club there, according to the posts on Ruth Huenniger’s Facebook page.

As word spread of their amazing find of a more than 30-year-old message in a bottle from Scotland, media outlets picked up on the story and Ruth started making new friends in another country.

According to Inside Edition, it all began following Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Ruth and her husband Lee lived in a homeowner’s park in Key Largo that suffered damage and the couple was out assessing it all.

They were going through the debris when something caught their eye. It was then that they found “a liter-sized plastic bottle that appeared frosted” with “a corner of a piece of paper inside.”

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Lee said it was the find of a lifetime: “We’ve always picked up bottles. We’ve beach-combed before even when we were kids… you always hear and read about a note in a bottle. Well, we always kind of check and this time there was a note in the bottle.”

The laminated note was undated, but appeared to be fairly recent since “there was no sea life on the bottle, like barnacles or greenery,” according to Lee.

It was from school children in Scotland who explained the class was studying pirates and sending the note in the bottle was part of it. They asked the recipient to respond to the find.

The Huennigers obliged and were shocked to discover from the teacher of the class that was responsible for the note in the bottle that it was so old. Because it took so long to get to them, it is likely currents made the bottle travel even further than the 4,400 miles between Key Largo, Florida, and the Forfar, Scotland, school.

Since the find, several of the students from the class have connected with the Huennigers on social media, giving them a whole new generation of friends to add to their circle.

One student from the note’s class told Ruth that he was now 38 years old and another Facebook post from Ruth notes that others in the class are 39 and 40 years of age now.

Other bottles were sent out by the class, but the Huennigers found the first one, according to Inside Edition. This was later corrected on Facebook by Ruth who shared a news clipping from just months after the class sent out the bottles, indicating that a Danish boy actually found the first one.

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Discoveries of messages in bottles are rare but have been going on for a long time, with Australia’s ABC News reporting on ten of the most famous ones found, as of 2014.

In their list was one that was presumed to have been approximately 101 years at sea, one that traveled from Nova Scotia, Canada, to Croatia, and one that was tossed in a champagne bottle from a Hawaiian cruise that was later found on the coast of Thailand.

Even though several months have passed, the Huennigers’ story continues to be shared and Ruth continues to post updates on her Facebook page.

She is getting more notes about coverage of the tale and she is making new friends from that Scottish school class she hopes to one day meet in person.

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