SWANSBORO, NC (WCTI) — It’s not something you find every day, a message in a bottle. A boat crew cleaning up after Hurricane Florence found one on Friday, and the boat’s captain is committed to returning the letter to its author.
Captain Matt Littleton and his crew never expected to find the bottle. They were out cleaning up our waterways when they came across a Duplin wine bottle, with a note inside.
“I had a nice little childish moment for a little bit,” Littleton said. “You live here your whole life and you hear the stories about messages in a bottle but then you actually run across one, a story coming to life. It was fun.”
Littleton says it was actually one of his crew members that came across the discovery. He said it wasn’t easy to get the cork out, but when they finally did they could read the letter. It wasn’t a love letter, instead a letter from a little girl in Greensboro named Elizabeth.
The letter, written in 2011 read, “Dear Friend, I hope you have a great summer. I hope you find lots of sea creatures like fish, lobster, jelly fish, and ells. I hope you have fun on your boat catching lots of fish. P.S. I don’t even know you yet. I will have to meet you one day.”
“It’s amazing when you think about the things. This was thrown over in Oak Island seven years ago and it made it to Emerald Isle in that amount of time,” said Littleton.
But Littleton said as fun as this is, there’s another bigger issue to talk about. The reason Littleton and his crew were out on the water to begin with was to clean up litter. He’s contracted through the North Carolina Coastal Federation to clean up debris in our waterways following Hurricane Florence. And while he loved finding the little girls message, he wanted to also address the other major issue of litter.
“Even though the majority of what we’re finding is from Hurricane Florence, the amount of litter we’re finding is alarming.”
Littleton said he’s found beer cans from the 90’s, styrofoam, trash bags, and just about anything else.
“If everyone loses one or two bottles, trash bag here and there, it adds up. Overtime it just destroys our ecosystem,” said Littleton.
With that said, he’s not talking about a little girl wanting to have some fun with a message in a bottle. And he admits finding her message has been fun for him and his crew, so much so that he wanted to track her down. He posted the story on Facebook, and it has been shared 1,000 times. It reached her mom who contacted Littleton.
“She told me her daughter was jumping up and down screaming. She was so excited somebody found the bottle,” said Littleton.
For Littleton, it’s something he won’t forget.
You can hear more of Littleton’s story here.