by Christina Boyle Cush | February 24, 2016

Coquina: Hope Floats

Finding a message in a bottle doesn't just happen in the movies

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This message in a bottle was found in northeast Florida during an environmental cleanup effort (photo by Jessie Preza)

Imagine taking a casual beach walk and discovering—surprise!—a glass vessel that has transported a stranger’s ultimate written expression of love, hope, desperation or grief. For two Floridians, this rarity became a reality. 

Sarah Hyde, 25, of Vero Beach, stumbled upon this old Cuban rum bottle encapsulating a message written in Spanish, while walking at Bathtub Reef Beach in November 2015.

“I was surprised. It was really cool, and I wasn’t expecting it,” says Hyde.
A translation of the letter, written on lined notebook paper, revealed that the author is most likely a lonely mother, with children in another country. The anguished note asks for help and health. “It’s sad that she sent out this message,” says Hyde, who keeps it on her dresser. “I’d never send one, but finding them doesn’t just happen in movies.”

Jeanne Laxton, 40, of Jacksonville Beach, found this corked treasure and enclosed note written in blue ink on parchment paper during International Coastal Cleanup Day in September 2015.

“The letter was to a 14-year-old girl who died in 2014,” Laxton says. The teenager’s grieving parents and sisters sent her many bottled messages on the anniversary of her death. Because this bottle was found along Sisters Creek in Jacksonville, they say they know she is ok.

“The mother wanted me to keep the bottle as a reminder to cherish the little things…every minute with loved ones is precious. I keep it next to a picture of my son,” says Laxton.

Make an unusual find on a Florida coast?
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