Stephen Caulfield threw a message in a bottle into the Carlingford Lough from his home in Northern Ireland in 1999, and the bottle turned up nearly 23 years later on the shore in a town about 18 miles away. Photo by Atlantios/Pixabay.com
Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A Northern Ireland man's message in a bottle was found nearly 23 years later after traveling only about 18 miles.
Stephen Caulfield, 44, said he was single and living in Rostrevor when he wrote the message reading: "I am 22 years old. Please write to me if you are a girl. Thanks!"
Caulfield said he put the message into a bottle and launched it into the Carlingford Lough on Jan. 5, 1999.
"It was done just to see how far it would go (it was a bit tongue-in-cheek)," Caulfield wrote in a message to the Belfast Telegraph. "I had previously thrown one in when I was a teenager."
Caulfield said he had forgotten about the message by the time photos of his letter started circulating on social media. His bottle had been found last week on the shore in Dundrum, about 18 miles from where he threw it into the water.
Caulfield said he "was hoping for the bottle to reach a bit farther," but he doesn't mind that it never landed him a date -- he's now married with three children.
"My wife and kids are having a laugh about it. My daughter said I'm viral. I collected my boy from school training this morning, and as I did, the vice principal said, 'There's a message in a bottle,'" he said.
Caulfield said on Twitter that the response to the bottle's discovery has been overwhelmingly positive, and he was glad to be about to give people "something different to talk about other than COVID."