Message in a Bottle: From Cuba to Bolivar

bottle_0By David Walker
Too many bottles and other containers wash up on our beach each day, however this last Thursday a very special bottle was laying in the sand just off the surf in Bolivar. The mystery and romance of a bottle with a message in it, has spawned novels, movies and songs – the Sting song just stays in your head upon hearing it. During my daily walk, I saw a wine bottle laying in the sand near the water’s edge. The label was washed away, and a few barnacles had attached themselves to the glass. A couple of things drew my attention – first the bottle originally contained some expensive wine, Belle Glos, as evidenced by the elegant red wax seal on the bottle. Also, the cork had been reapplied, and the interior of the bottle was completely dry. Inside the bottle appeared to be a piece of paper.


Upon returning home, I removed the cork and retrieved the contents of the bottle. The contents included an invitation to attend an art show on the Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship and a $5 bill.

On a blank section of the invitation, there was a handwritten note from Ralph McCurry with his email address and a request to contact him upon finding the bottle – which I did!


Ralph, a resident of Huntsville, Alabama, responded “Wow! My wife and I left out of Tampa on a cruise to Cozumel and I let the bottle fly on the way back. We were about 80 miles from coast of Cuba and it was March 4th.” The bottle was laying on Bolivar beach on May 12.

As for the enclosed money, Ralph adds “I put the five dollar bill in there in case the bottle was found 100 years from now, or by someone far away that needed it.”

By my calculations, it took 69 days for the bottle to float from Cuba to Bolivar! That would be 13 miles per day to cover the 1400-mile distance! Pretty incredible!

A Facebook page exists for fellow beach scavengers – Bolivar Beachcombers. You will find my posting on this bottle, as well as many other special finds from our beaches.

There are many reasons for us to live here in Bolivar, special treasures found on the beach are among them!

David Walker can be contacted at [email protected]

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