Put a Message in a Bottle and Throw it in the Ocean



While the idea of placing a message in a bottle has always seemed romantic to me, I think I should preface this post by saying that, in the future, I promise to make up for all the bad environmentalist karma I’ve probably racked up for this act. Also, I’m not necessarily condoning doing the same thing! I know that in some countries the act is, understandably, illegal. Nevertheless, I checked the laws in the country the bottle was thrown in before doing it and, the item has been on my bucket list for a while, so I figured that carrying out this romantic fantasy at least once would be neat.

Last summer, when I went on vacation in St. Martin with my family, I thought that this location, where I have been going every year for the past twenty-two years, would be an ideal place to leave my message in a bottle. However, as usual, I waited until the last minute and never followed through with my plan. When I traveled to Australia a few months ago, I decided that yes, leaving a message in a bottle halfway around the world on a trip that had a major impact on my life would be ideal. But alas, again I waited too long and think that subconsciously, I didn’t want to be the crazy girl leaving notes in a bottle on the trip. Yet last week, on the last day of my spring break trip to St. Martin, I crossed the item off the list.


Ten minutes before Hot Wheels, our favorite taxi driver friend, was about to arrive at the resort to take my friends and I to the airport for departure, I thought, if you don’t do it now, you’ll either have to throw a bottle into the ocean near your house, which is much less epic, or wait until next year. I scourged the fridge for any empty bottles I could use, but since there weren’t any left, decided to ask my dad if he had any lying around. “This may be sort of gross,” he said, “but you can see if there are any in the garbage.” I opened the lid of the garbage can and after some digging, came across my empty Gatorade bottle from the other day — not quite the romanticized image of the bottle I had envisioned, but it worked. I grabbed the pen on the counter and the notepad the resort leaves in the room, told everyone I would be right back, and ran outside.

I always imagined that when I left a message in the bottle, the note would consist of some lengthy love letter. I would express my unrevealed feelings to the man I love in the hopes that someday, the note would sail across the sea until it reached him. English majors may hate clichés, but I think many of us enjoy the extreme scenarios crafted by our beloved romance writers! Instead though, when I stepped outside, I knew what I wanted to write. I decided to dedicate the note to my grandpa, one of my best friends, who passed away while I was studying abroad in Australia.


As I walked outside, I slipped the note into the bottle, tried to walk as far away from the security guard as I could, pretended I was sitting down on the dock, then let the bottle slip from my fingers and into the sea.

Who knows? Maybe someone noticed the bottle immediately and went to retrieve it, only to not notice the note inside. Or maybe they did notice the note. Because I didn’t throw the bottle in a river, I know the odds of the bottle traveling very far, or traveling anywhere, is rare. Yet maybe it will float for a few days and never be found, or end up on a nearby beach. Either way, I enjoy knowing that what has become of the bottle will always be a mystery.


So although I am not condoning polluting the ocean, I am curious if anyone has pursued a similar project or has a similar item he or she wants to cross off a bucket list? I’d love to hear about your experiences!



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49 Responses to Put a Message in a Bottle and Throw it in the Ocean

  1. I do something similar…. i don’t do it on a regular basis but I take my kids out on some kind of wilderness adventure (hiking or camping) and at the end of it, we release a balloon with a message to God or angels.

    • Ah, I love that idea 🙂 That’s actually on my bucket list as well and I have not yet crossed it off (attaching a note to a balloon and sending it off somewhere). So cool to hear you already do something similar!

      • i have never been close enough to the ocean to do the message in a bottle but my family and i love doing wilderness activities and it always seems to be a great ending to any adventure. i have also had friends who buy lil cards and write little motivational or inspirational notes and they leave them in random spots (peoples car windows, grocery aisles, in carts, in a bus seat).

      • Wilderness activities sound great too though! And I love the idea about the inspirational notes; it’s such a nice concept 🙂

  2. Annette says:

    I was just reading about them just finding a 100 year old message in a bottle. Maybe that will happen with yours!

  3. Đại Việt Nguyễn says:

    Very romantic, I like it. But I just hope your bottle survives the UV since it is plastic…

  4. cougarblogger says:

    Uhhhh, perhaps a glass bottle should be incorporated in this idea. Also, those balloons end up in the ocean, look like jelly fish, they are ingested and the innocent animal dies. Or … you could stop throwing anything in the ocean. The oceans die, we die. Simple as that.


    • I agree – should have been glass. My children have – on one or two occasions – lost hold of helium party balloons outdoors. This is extremely guilt-inducing. Definitely bad for the oceans, not to mention local birds and wildlife. Message, good. Plastic, BAD.

    • Yes, I don’t plan on doing it again, but you’re right that a glass bottle may have been better! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I understand where you’re coming from 🙂

    • Katherine says:

      I am a little bit in disbelief at this actually. Contributing to our already polluted world to fulfil our own idea of what’s “romantic” is selfish. Do people still not really don’t grasp the seriousness of such actions? And as a result of this post others are adding it to their bucket list!? Come on people, wake up. One person’s actions DO make a difference – so make your actions count FOR a healthy Earth – not against it. http://www.seeturtles.org/1128/ocean-plastic.html

    • Yes, perhaps a glass bottle! Thank you for your input 🙂

  5. momulloy says:

    This is officially added to my bucket list! Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

  6. Your Awesome, This is very cool. Will have to try this one day.

  7. This is a great idea! Always wanted to do this

  8. I would have probably at least taken the label off :p that way someone could see something was inside. Cool idea – might want to re-do it though when you get more time and can find a glass bottle.

  9. stemgir1 says:

    When I was a kid on holidays at the beach I wrote a message and put it into a bottle and threw it out to sea. I’d written my address on the message. A few months later I received a letter from a lady, a scout master, who had found the bottle with my message while walking on the beach on the other side of the bay to where we were holidaying – she read the message, saw my address and wrote to me to let me know she’d found the message. It was so cool, and something very special to have happened to me 🙂

  10. juxxtapose says:

    Ooh, I love this idea! Perhaps, you could consider leaving a form of contact in the bottle. Like maybe an email address? Then there’ll be a teeny chance that someone will pick up the bottle, see the note, and respond to it.

  11. Denise [But First, Live!] says:

    I’ve contemplated the idea 🙂
    But my earth-loving conscious hasn’t let me do so. Hehe.
    Hmmm…Perhaps i’ll follow through, but with paper planes 🙂
    We’ll see.

  12. Dace says:

    All I could see is the plastic bottle that will be swollowed by an innocent creature in the ocean and potentially die. A glass bottle would be more appropriate. Romantic or not, we have to be responsible for our actions.

    The same way as you would not want your dog or cat lick the anti freeze off the conrete and die just because somebody thought it would be so romantic to draw a heart on a white pavement.

    • I certainly hope that is not the case! Hopefully, the more positive result of someone’s day being made for finding a message in a bottle will be the end result, but I do see where you are coming from 🙂

      • Claire says:

        Do you have any idea how shallow, self-centred and stupid this post makes you look? Please be more thoughtful. You know that this is unethical. You know this is the wrong thing to do, yet you do it anyway. The chances of someone finding your message in a bottle are slim to none. When and if they do, they will hopefully think you are as irresponsible and uneducated as I do and send you another message to let you know. http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/?ar_a=1

      • I am very sorry you feel that way, but I appreciate your opinion. I think it’s important to consider all sides of an issue or a certain act, which I also believe leads people to become more educated. Just as you believe in protecting the oceans, I believe in being kind to and respecting others no matter what, so again, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Perhaps your point is, as someone else suggested, message good, bottle bad. Therefore, thank you again for sharing that article 🙂

  13. oldpoet56 says:

    This material is a very good read, I enjoyed your work.

  14. specialistneeds says:

    I think I may have to partake in this! Might use a jam jar if it floats, mainly so I can write something in remembrance to my grandparents who I lost whilst still quite young. A jam jar because my man use to make her own strawberry and raspberry jam and if I can, I’ll place a you train inside to as my grandad grew up with the railways and loved his trains. Keep up the good work 🙂


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  16. jannatwrites says:

    I haven’t thought of doing this and would probably feel guilty if I did (I can’t even drop a gum wrapper on the ground!) It would be kind of cool though, if you found out someone did get your message.

  17. Easy-Tee says:

    So thrilling! I love it! It’s like I was hidden somewhere watching you drop the bottle and when you left I came to take the bottle and I didn’t see the bottle! Now I’m wondering…what is in the bottle…what emotions is buried inside it? Mysterious! #MyImagination

  18. Rachael says:

    This is massively irresponsible. Please find another way to put a message out there. It isn’t romantic. You talk about ‘environmental karma’, but it’s just straight out littering. Maybe you could put ‘pick up garbage on beaches’ on your bucket list. Maybe you’ll even find a message in a bottle?

    • I actually have written a post about collecting trash off the ground and crossing that item off my bucket list. However, I’m sorry you feel that way and appreciate you sharing your opinion, as that is the point of blogs right? To share opinions and free speech 🙂

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