Brockport student’s “message in a bottle” discovered eleven years later

Eleven years. That’s how long it has been since Mr. Albrecht’s 2010-11 fourth-grade class put 43 bottles with messages into the Atlantic Ocean, via the Gulf Stream. Eleven years, and one was just discovered by a vacationer in the Bahamas.

In 2012, the class project went viral when a local reporter, Caurie Putnam, with the Democrat and Chronicle covered the story and it was picked up by the Associated Press and featured globally. At the time, the second bottle had just washed up in the Azores Islands. Since then, three more bottles were found, with the most recent turning up in 2014. That is, until Jared Hardies’ bottle was discovered in the Bahamas this week.

Kathy Dahn was vacationing in the Bahamas when she found the bottle. Though she lives in Nova Scotia, where the class’s first message in a bottle was discovered in 2011, Kathy had visited Casuarina Bay previously. She discovered the bottle during low tide, amongst seaweed, while walking to Twin Coves in Governor’s Harbour. When she noticed the bottle had a cork, she inspected it further and realized there was a message inside. After sharing her find with family and on social media, Kathy broke the bottle to read the pages inside. She says she was thrilled to find the message was in perfect condition, allowing her to read the student’s letter.

Because of an additional letter that was included in each bottle by Mr. Albrecht, Kathy was able to reach out to the Brockport teacher and inform him of her discovery. Mr. Albrecht contacted Jared, now a college student studying meteorology at Penn State, with the news.

“When Mr. Albrecht called me, I never would've guessed it would be about this. I was completely shocked,” Jared says. “[I have a] clear memory [of] watching the video of the bottles being put in the ocean. I always thought it was a super cool idea, but never thought my bottle would actually be found.”

Jared and Mr. Albrecht believe the bottle was in the water for the majority of the 11 years since it was dropped into the Gulf, possibly stuck in an Atlantic current, given the condition of the bottle and its message.

“It is very cool to be a part of something like this, especially studying physical sciences,” says Jared. “I have been looking at ocean current maps trying to figure out how the bottle could have taken this trajectory.”

“It would be an interesting math problem for my current students, to calculate how many miles the bottle must have traveled over those eleven years,” says Mr. Albrecht, who worked with his students in 2011 after the first bottle was found to determine the bottles must be traveling roughly nine miles each day.

“It is amazing that there might be some bottles still floating around out there,” says Jared. “Within such a large world, it is fascinating how someone actually found my bottle and reached out.”

This recent bottle makes six of the original 43 that have been found, leaving the potential for 37 future discoveries and the wonder of when and where the next might turn up.

Message in a bottle note
Edited letter