Message in a bottle

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I was reading a Scooby Doo book to my five-year-old son. In the story, the gang were in a surfing contest. Scooby and Shaggy were swept away on their turn surfing and landed on a deserted island. They chose to send a message in a bottle into the ocean. The message said, “Save Us.”

As a kid, I was all in for this idea. Really, what else would you do if you were stranded on an island?

Now, as an adult, the message-in-a-bottle solution bothered me. It represented one of those useless things that served no real purpose. Which was redundant! See how worked up this makes me?

Imagine for a moment your bottle drifted randomly through the ocean. Even say it didn’t break or sink, and it happened upon someone who was willing and able to rescue you. Sure, okay, then what?

If this was a kid’s movie then a helpful pod of dolphins would lead the way or the first island the rescuer searched would be right. If this were a romance, the rescuer would be your perfect someone.

In real life, the ocean is big. Like crazy big.

So, your bottle happened to find someone willing to rescue you, but they’d have no idea about your location as there’s no way to address a bottle tossed into the sea. I guess, if you had mad cartography and astronomy skills you might be able to give them the location. A sci-fi answer would be if the bottle had an alien homing beacon which drew the rescuer back to the island. Or for a fantasy, a magic spell embedded in the bottle would whisk the rescuer straight to you.

So, the rescuer made it to your island… What if you’d already been rescued? Or were long dead and only your skull and the strange scrawled writing you somehow left on the rocky outcrops showed you were ever there? (hmm, getting a horror feel to that one)

What wouldit be like to be truly lost? I think it would be humbling for a modern-tech addicted person to have all technology taken away. No cell phone to tell you the day or time. No fitbit to count your steps. No lights at night.

You would also be away from society’s influence. No one to tell you right from wrong. To have the lowest of Maslow’s level – food, water, shelter – be suddenly uncertain. You’d have to survive based upon the skills you brought to the island.

Maybe that’s why many stories of self-discovery were set on islands. Woman against nature.

I realized that if I ever am truly lost on a tropical island, then maybe having a rescuer-seeking bottle or a pod of helpful dolphins would be good options. Even better, if my island was not really an island, but was just a beach hidden behind some rocks. I’d have my own space to be alone, but my friends would be just over the dune.

What type of island experience would you like?

8 thoughts on “Message in a bottle

  1. Ever wondered where that empty bottle came from to start with or the paper and pen to write? I got lost in the bush once it was funny but scary at the same time we went off the track carrying our mountain bikes. After stumbling around for a few hours we decided that yelling was gonna save us as we had no idea where to turn with cliffs and drop offs above and below. We eventually heard a dog a few long hours later and our yelling managed to get us saved by a local. If I were to find myself lost again I’d rather it be on some island at least then I can sleep on the beach again like I used to in my younger days. Great post.

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    • Exactly! And a pen that works? I can barely find a pen in my own house these days. Let alone a pen that actually works. Getting lost in the bush sounds much more harrowing. The popular image of the bush in the US via movies is dingos, crocodiles, and miles upon miles of unfriendly land. What was it really like?

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      • Omg no more talk about pens I have donated my savings towards them. Lol. Well I don’t have to worry about crocs they are more northern Australia and dingoes are more inland.

        The bush though is still quite dangerous with temperatures that can be quite rough on people. In the Blue mountains a couple hrs west of me the temps can drop over night very quickly so it isn’t a place to be lost. Many have and some have died.
        Our biggest threat is actually the Eastern Brown. A snake that is known for being aggressive and a killer. So yeah Aussie bush can either get you by heat/cold dehydration/starvation. The odd mine that wasn’t sealed and down here snakes and spiders and up north or inland crocs dingoes or even bigger snakes lol. The ocean is safer it only has sharks stingrays crocs and the box jellyfish lol.
        But for me it was more no water and endless bush that showed no way out. And I wasn’t that far in when we were saved we were shown how far in we actually were so it shows how easy it is to lose yourself out there

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      • I think I read once the Australia is the most poisonous place in the world. That has never stopped me from wanting to go there. Unfortunately, I would probably be one of those clueless Americans who managed not to die through blind luck. 🙂 Yet the dream lives on.

        I used to do a bit of mountain biking. I was never terribly good at it, but I loved following trails through the forest. The image in my head of your biking trip was what I saw in Texas where everything was solid, steep, dry, and sharp. Is that what you were doing? Getting the rush from barreling down the trails dodging snakes and leaping mini-canyons? 🙂

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  2. […] Message in a bottle by Claudia Blood I was reading a Scooby Doo book to my five-year-old son. In the story, the gang were in a surfing contest. Scooby and Shaggy were swept away on their turn surfing and landed on a deserted island. They chose to send a message in a bottle into the ocean. The message said, “Save Us.” As a kid, I was all in for this idea. Really, what else would you do if you were stranded on an island? Now, as an adult, the message-in-a-bottle solution bothered me. It represented one of those useless things that served no real purpose. Which was redundant! See how worked up this makes me? Read more of this post […]

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