North Side family finds message in a bottle

Authors of the note plan to visit Cayman

North Side resident Patricia DaCosta displays the note she found in a bottle that was tossed in the ocean three years ago off the Florida coast. Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

Casual walks along Cayman’s shoreline can yield notable treasures, and one North Side family discovered a once-in-a-lifetime gem in an emerald coloured bottle – a handwritten message from across the seas.

“We were so thrilled,” Patricia DaCosta told the Cayman Compass in an interview this week as she carefully unfolded the note she extracted from the bottle.

DaCosta and her family were holidaying in East End over the Easter weekend when they decided to take a walk along the beach.

She said she was standing on the shoreline chatting with her husband and their two children when she noticed the bottle laying at her feet.

“I saw this note in the bottle, and this is something I’ve always thought would be neat if we found a letter in a bottle. We picked it up and we thought ‘okay, how can we get this open?’ It was sealed quite tightly, but we didn’t want to break the bottle,” she said.

DaCosta said the family fiddled with the bottle and managed to get it open.

“Then we still couldn’t get the note out, but we took a long piece of bamboo and we sort of used it as a scroll and manoeuvred the note out of the bottle… it was very exciting,” she said.

The note was not what she expected.

It stated: “Thrown into the ocean on 6 Dec 2017 somewhere between the Bahamas and Florida. If you find this, drop us a line and let us know where it ended up.”

The note was signed Darren and Shannon, a couple from Evansville, Indiana. It also contained their email address.

When the DaCostas got home, they sent an email to the address listed.

“The next day we got a response from the writers saying how ecstatic they were that it had been discovered. They indicated that they thought perhaps the bottle had been washed on a deserted beach or uninhabited beach somewhere because it had been so long that they’d thrown it in the ocean,” she said.

DaCosta said the discovery was happenstance as the area it was found, near the Parrot Sanctuary, is relatively secluded. The bottle could have been laying there for a while, she said.

“There’s just a little path leading down there. So it’s actually quite a remote area of the beach because it’s not like a public area or anything,” she said.

DaCosta said the couple who wrote the note were surprised by how far it had travelled.

Her husband traced the likely route of the bottle from Florida, projecting that it would have travelled around the coast of Cuba and ended up on the East End shoreline.

“I think it was a nice surprise. It gave us connection to people who I think had an adventurous spirit that would just place a note in a bottle,” she said.

The US couple who wrote the note were intrigued by Cayman.

“It also piqued their interest in visiting the Cayman Islands. They said they’re avid travellers, they love to travel. Because of this discovery, they’ve moved the Cayman Islands up on their list of places to visit. We told them that we’d love to meet them in person and we hope that they will visit in the near future and we can show them some Caymankind hospitality. It was a really nice Easter find,” she added.

The DaCosta family plans to reuse the bottle.

“We intend to use it to throw our own note into the ocean. We thought that would be a nice gesture,” she said.

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