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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Message In A Bottle Always Intrigues

Cell phones and the Internet may be connecting the world, but Sean Bercaw prefers a different method of reaching out.

He’s a tall ship captain and former Naval officer, originally from Falmouth, Mass.

Sean Bercaw is a tall ship captain and former Naval officer.

Sean Bercaw is a tall ship captain and former Naval officer.

As he sails around the world, he puts messages in bottles and drops them overboard. He’s been doing it since he was a kid, sailing around the world with his family.

When the bottles are found, it’s a chance to connect unlike any other.

During his voyages in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans over the last 25 years, he’s tossed overboard more than 250 stoppered bottles with messages inside.

His bottles have been found in France, the Caribbean, Azores, Cape Verde Islands and French Polynesia.

“It’s not a sure thing,” Bercaw told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “You invest in it when you throw the bottle out, and you hope it’ll be found. I’ve thrown many bottles that weren’t found but I’m still excited by taking the effort to launch them out there.”


  • Sean Bercaw, tall ship captain.

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  • Anne

    In 1996 two friends of mine and myself put messages in a bottle while sailing my boat SPRITZEL, a 27′ Pierson Renegade. We had just gone through Woods Hole, opened a bottle of wine, drank it while composing our notes. Somewhere in Vineyard Sound it was tossed and with the currents who knows where it might have ended up if it ever did. Sadly never heard again but this has inspired me to do it again sometime!

  • Pointpanic

    Oh that’s great ,throw more trash into the sea that’s never been “found” who knows? A marine animal may have swallowed it and died. I can’t believe that intelligent educated people buy into nostalgic romantic notions wth no regard for the environmental consequences. He should stop trashing the oceans at once.And it’s not to BUR’s credit to totally ignore the conequences

  • Jeff

    I sent some balloons up with a note as a kid and got a nice letter back. They went 15 miles, crossed state lines and landed in a tree outside the bedroom window on the morning of a man’s birthday, so he put them on the table that evening for dinner!

  • aknman49

    I’m a shore-based fisherman in western Alaska who is forever picking up bottles bearing messages –mostly written under the influence of alcohol, I suspect — which typically make it as far as three miles from the small boat harbor whence, I suspect, they were launched.

    Still, there’s an outside chance one of those will find its way to somewhere elsewhere on the planet.  Tossing your plaintive plea for attention in the middle of the ocean no doubt improves your odds.   

    As for the “litter” factor, I would rather 500 glass bottles be tossed than a single, indestructible plastic Proteus.

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