I’ll send an SOS to the world
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle…
—The Police, “Message in a Bottle”
In 1979, Gordon Sumner, otherwise known as Sting, then frontman for the band The Police, sang of loneliness and longing in a song he penned called “Message in a Bottle.” The song hit number one in the U.K. but spent a mere seven weeks on the U.S. Billboard chart, achieving a peak position of just #74 that year. Sting’s self-professed favorite song has since become a staple on ’80s stations throughout the country. While no one could have predicted its staying power as a metaphorical time capsule of that bygone era, an actual message in a bottle has now made its way back from the mid-80s.
This bottle traveled 4000 miles from the U.K. and the North Sea to the U.S. shoreline of Florida’s Atlantic coast.
The message, sent back in 1985, was from children attending Forfar, Scotland’s Chapelpark Primary School. They were studying pirates. Ruth and Lee Huenniger found the plastic bottle containing the note last September, in what they describe as remarkable condition. They found it lying against a chain link fence, approximately 500 feet from the Atlantic, as they inspected street lamps after Hurricane Irma.
When the Huennigers were finally able to get inside the bottle and read the message, they decided to reply to the school.
Mrs. Huenniger told the BBC:
It was several weeks, maybe six, before we received a response. We were pleasantly surprised when we received the response from the previous teacher at the school that is no longer there.
Twitter users were pretty stoked by the find:
Retired teacher Fiona Cargill remembers one of her classes writing the letter in the mid-1980s.
Cargill told BBC News:
I believe it is one class of primary 2/3 in particular because one of the children was related to a trawlerman in Arbroath who would take the bottle in their boat and throw it a bit further out so that it was less likely to just wash back ashore.
Many of the grown children involved in the project were as surprised as the Huennigers to have the bottle found:
There was one question, though:
We think you know, Brady. If not, please check the beginning of this piece. ?