HomeOutdoorsNewsVirginia Angler Finds a Message in a Bottle

Virginia Angler Finds a Message in a Bottle

by Craig Garrett
Message in Bottle - stock photo

As he cast his line into the water, a Virginia angler never expected his most exciting catch of the day would be a message in a bottle. Mechanic Gregory D’Alessio from Alexandria, Virginia found a glass bottle filled with handwritten notes while fishing near Maryland’s Solomons Island. He took to Reddit to share his discovery. The post was met with enthusiasm, garnering over 59,000 upvotes on social media. Users obsessively speculated about the contents of the bottle.

D’Alessio said that he loves to fish in his free time and is especially partial to the area where he made the discovery. “I love fishing; I fish all over the Chesapeake bay from my kayak. I go to Solomons Island a lot actually, it’s a great fishing spot,” he told Newsweek. The trip had been forgettable up until he found the bottle on Thanksgiving. “I was on my way back to the launch site after a pretty unlucky day of fishing,” he recalled. “I broke one of my favorite rods while I was reeling in a big Rockfish and lost the fish.”

D’Alessio frequently kayaks and whenever he’s out, he tries to clean up any trash floating in the water. It was on one of these occasions that he came across the bottle. “I saw this big bottle floating just off the dock of Bunky’s Charter boat rental so I went over to it to get it out of the water so I could throw it away when I got back to shore,” D’Alessio explained.

At first, the angler thought the message in a bottle was trash

At first, the fisherman thought the message in a bottle was ordinary trash. “When I got closer, I thought at first it was filled with cigarette butts but it turned out to be a bunch of scrolls and a small pouch.” Upon further examination, he noticed a note that explained the bottle was part of a memorial for someone who had recently passed away. The note also asked whoever found it to “set it free” back out in the ocean.

The card contained an obituary for Emma Jean Ennis. She was a Maryland great-grandmother who passed away at the age of 82 in January 2021. “I didn’t actually open the bottle because I assumed the letters were personal and didn’t want to pry, it didn’t seem respectful,” D’Alessio recalled. Instead of throwing the bottle away, he contacted a number included in the memorial so that whoever found it could get in touch with him. “The person that responded was very grateful, told me I ‘made their Thanksgiving,’ which made me pretty happy about having a bad fishing day,” D’Alessio explained.

The message in a bottle’s journey continues

The family member told him that the bottle had been thrown from Seahorse Beach, which is about four miles north of Chesapeake Bay. D’Alessio set the bottle containing the ashes back into the river, ensuring that his family’s wishes were respected. “It hasn’t traveled far but I’m sure it has a long journey ahead of it,” he explained. “Hopefully it makes its way back out to the bay and maybe even the Atlantic ocean. No telling where it could end up honestly.”