Fisherman Finds Message in a Bottle Written in 1981, Finds the Sender Within Hours

A fisherman was searching for seashells on the beach when he found a different type of souvenir in the sand.

It was just another day at the beach for a Georgia fisherman when he was startled by an object in the sand.

Ryan Burchett was walking on St. Simons Island when he spotted an old beer bottle with a message inside, written 36 years ago.

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“I said, ‘Wow! Check this out. This is pretty cool!’” Burchett told

The handwritten note reads: “This bottle was set adrift off Fernandina Beach, Florida on the 10th of June, 1981. To the finder, I would appreciate it if you would respond as to where, when and found by whom. My permanent address is as follows on the back. Thanks, Douglas H. Stephens.”

Fernandina Beach is around 50 miles south of where the bottle was found on St. Simons Island.

Although neither Burchett nor Stephens have Facebook accounts, a local business, Southeast Adventure Outfitters, was able to help connect the men within just 12 hours.

Stephens was shocked when he received the first phone call from Burchett.

“I guess the stunning part of all this is the number of years it has been out there before someone found it,” Stephens told “It brings back great childhood memories of the beach.”

Stephens was 20 years old and spending time with family at Fernandina Beach in Florida when he wrote the note, put it in his brother's beer bottle and sent it adrift off the coast, Burchett told

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Burchett also spends much of his time at the beach in Georgia, but never expected to find a souvenir quite like this.

The two plan to meet for lunch in August where Burchett will hand deliver a very special gift.

“It’s his bottle and his note,” Burchett said. “I’m going to give it back to him.”

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