Missing the bottle

George Hartman
Not a genie, but a note in a bottle, found by George Hartman last Sunday on Squibnocket Beach. Photo by Marnie Toole

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - March 22, 2007

I always look forward to covering nature walks for The Times because I get to go to places most people don't see. Such was the case last Sunday on The Trustees of Reservations walk to Squibnocket Point. It was cold. The sun was just a bright promise of warm days ahead, and the wind was a force to be reckoned with.

The walk was beautiful but uneventful. Times photographer and production manager Susan Safford and I decided, after our very brief foray onto the beach, to turn around and head back to our warm car. Once inside the car, we made the ill-fated decision to leave, thereby missing an exciting event on the beach: George Hartman's finding a bottle with a message inside.

This is a small Island, and so of course I heard the news about the bottle an hour after my hasty retreat. "Everybody was so excited when the bottle was opened," said Mr. Hartman in a phone interview on Tuesday. He described the bottle and message as neatly packaged with the cork covered in wax. Inside was a concise message and a map from the Morrison family of Stonginton, Conn., stating this was bottle #24, part of an ocean currents science project, and the bottle was thrown into the water on Jan. 1 of this year from Stonington Point, Conn. The finder was instructed to email the Morrisons and also mail back the enclosed map with the finder's location marked. Mr. Hartman has followed all the instructions and will receive the final ocean currents report.

Squibnocket Beach
Cold but undaunted, visitors make their way up the hill to the cliff overlooking Squibnocket Beach. Photo by Susan Safford

Someone else actually saw the bottle on the beach, took a picture of it, but didn't pick it up. Mr. Hartman said he is a curious person, always picking up things here and there, so he and the bottle were well met.

The lessons to be learned are: get out and take a walk no matter what the weather and don't leave too soon. Curiosity pays off in unexpected ways.