Message in a bottle
By NICOLE JENKINS Staff Writer
Working at the North Atlantic site of the Titanic wreck, Phil Malone came
up with his own emergency request for provisions: Twinkies and Cokes.
At the urging of friends, the Annapolis man scribbled the joking
message onto a piece of paper, stuffed it into a bottle and tossed it into
the frigid ocean on Aug. 16, 1998.
he found sustenance elsewhere. A woman living on the shores of a remote
island near Ireland just let him know she'd found his bobbing bottle.
"I was amazed to receive anything back at
all," said Mr. Malone, a self-employed programmer and Web designer.
He and 10 other programmers and historians were part
of a research and recovery expedition crew at the site of the famed
liner's remains. Part of their recovery work was filmed live by the
Discovery Channel. The program aired August 1998.
Mr. Malone had been working on a software program
for one of the remote-operated vehicles used to explore and salvage parts
of the ship that sank in 1912.
underwater vehicle required programming and maintenance, he was invited to
participate in the three-week adventure.
said he and the other project workers were midway through the job, and
celebrating the crew's recovery of a large piece of the hull.
Mr. Malone said someone laughingly suggested sending
a message in a bottle. He wrote up two similar notes telling a tall tale
about hitting an iceberg and other odd occurrences.
"Some of the crew have been eaten by whales. We are
running low on wine and beer, and we have no clean T-shirts or shorts,"
the letter indicated. "Please send cokes, Twinkies and popcorn (for the
He threw the bottled messages out to
sea that night.
"I thought it would fill up
with water and make it to the bottom of the sea. I did not think we would
get any response, but I included an e-mail address just in case. I figured
e-mail would be the easiest way to respond." He was pretty much wrong on
On Jan. 1, 1999, the message in a
bottle washed ashore on Great Blasket Island southwest of Ireland and was
found by resident Sue Redican.
But, it would
take nearly a year and a half for Ms. Redican to respond to Mr. Malone's
A weaver and plant-dyer who did not
have access to e-mail or electricity, she knew a friend on the mainland,
John Holstead, who did have e-mail.
finally contacting Mr. Holstead, he e-mailed Mr. Malone in May indicating
that his message had been found.
In a recent
letter, Ms. Redican recently responded to an e-mail sent to her through
"I was delighted to get your
e-mail," she wrote."It was a surprise to find out the bottle was really
thrown off the site of the Titanic. I thought it was a joke."
After briefly communicating with Mr. Malone through
Mr. Holstead's e-mail, Ms. Redican sent the original letter back via
regular mail to Mr. Malone.
He plans to send
Ms. Redican a copy of the letter, a copy of this story and a lump of coal
recovered from the wreckage during a previous recovery venture.
He bought it at a Titanic gift shop.
Published 08/28/00, Copyright © 2000 The Capital, Annapolis,