Messages in Bottle Inspire Cape Cod Woman Faith

PROVINCETOWN – Fate uncorked a doozy last week at the Cape tip. Kimberly “Jaia” Snyder found three messages in one bottle at the edge of Provincetown Harbor. “I had the blues,” recalled Snyder. “And I went down to the beach to do my usual morning exercises.” Something uplifting and translucent was waiting. A bottle stood on part of a sea wall. “I could see right through the green glass to the message,” said Snyder. “And I thought maybe it’s like a treasure map or some important papers. It could have been anything.” Snyder took the bottle home. A dramatic decanting ensued.

“I got the cork, out and I spent probably 20 minutes trying to get the message out with a chopstick and then an oyster knife and a steak knife and it was tearing up the paper,” said Snyder. “So I put it in a paper bag and brought it outside and smashed it with a brick.” Among the shards were three messages, detailing a strange journey powered by the vagaries of the Atlantic. The bottle was first launched from New Harbor, Maine, in September 2009 by two lifelong friends on vacation.

Jean Nicholson, 70, of Crossville, Tenn., said she and her friend Bonnie Ferguson, 65, of Big Rapids, Mich., were inspired by the bucolic setting and the 1999 Kevin Costner movie “Message in a Bottle,” partly filmed in New Harbor. The pair decided to launch a bottle, with a note that included the lines, “the ocean lulls us to sleep – peace is here, for all those who take it in. Savor the moments forever.” In December 2009, the bottle was found along Cape Cod Bay in Barnstable. It was given to Katie Carey, a second-grade teacher at Barnstable-West Barnstable Elementary School, who took it to class. Talk about teachable moments: Here was a chance to learn geography and practice letter writing! Students penned notes to Nicholson and Ferguson and received letters back. A fine friendship was formed. “We were reaching out to people we didn’t know, and they responded so generously and kindly,” said Carey. “We’re making a whole chain of friends just through this bottle,” Nicholson said.

The students added a note to the bottle and Carey plunked it back into the water at Craigville Beach in Centerville. Then something weird happened. Somehow, the bottle spun around the Cape, coming to rest on Sandy Neck, back along Cape Cod Bay, where it was found by Bill and Ann Monroe in August 2010. According to their note, the Monroes relaunched the now-jam-packed bottle on Labor Day weekend in 2010. More than a year later, Snyder found it in Provincetown. “There’s something about it that is just classically magical – like storybook and exciting,” said Snyder, who said she has been considerably cheered by her glassy adventure. “I think people love connection and people love to know there are always ways to connect, no matter what.” Snyder has acquired a new bottle, plans to place the three messages inside, add one of her own and release it soon. “It’s the message that matters,” she said.

By Associated Press

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