Go ahead, give it your best shot. That bottle and the message in it will never be seen again. At least that's what logic dictates. It's certainly what Susan and Kirby Gillingham thought 16 years ago when the Fort Wayne couple were relaxing on their honeymoon cruise in the Pacific ocean and Kirby got an idea.
“We were actually sitting on our balcony,” he recalls, “we had just finished up the bottle of soda and thought 'put a message in a bottle'. And it said if you find this bottle please drop me a card and let me know that you found it. And then I wrote down on the bottom 'help, only been married seven days. 'You give any further thought to it after that in the following years?' we ask. “I completely forgot about it.”
Forgot, that is, until they got a reminder. Last month the bottle Kirby dropped in the ocean in 2002 washed up on the island of Kauai, part of the Hawaiian Island chain, and was found by beachcomber Don Piburn. Using the internet Piburn tracked down Kirby Gillingham and sent him an email along with photos before and after he pulled the note out of the bottle.
“The look on his face he was just like amazed, recalls Kirby's wife Susan. “We were both dumbfounded.”
In his note Piburn explained how he found the bottle, the fact it was covered in barnacles, the cap deteriorated and the message inside damp but legible. He and the Gillingham's have exchanged several more messages about the message, and talked about getting together in Hawaii. The Gillingham's say it could happen. They're planning another cruise next year, a family cruise, with some of their grandchildren.
'Will anybody be throwing a bottle in the ocean?' we ask. “I'm sure,” Kirby says, “I have quite a few granddaughters.” “Because we have 18 grandchildren,” adds Susan. “We don't want to pollute the ocean.”