Milton man finds message in a bottle

Broadkill artifact has been floating since 1985
August 23, 2020

Kayaking down the Broadkill River is a regular activity for Brad Wachsmuth, but on Aug. 8, he came upon a most unusual discovery.

Wachsmuth usually likes to remove trash from the waterway, to help keep the river clean. On this day, he happened upon what he thought was a plastic bottle. When he fished it out of the water though, it turned out to be a glass bottle with a message inside dating back to 1985.

“I found it Saturday afternoon about two miles from the Milton boat launch,” Wachsmuth said. “I didn’t realize there was a message until I got back to shore and my friend, Jeff Bennett, said there was something in there.”

The letter was written by Stacey Wells of Milton and Cathy Isaacs of Ellendale, and explains that they were staying off Prime Hook Beach when they sent the message. Wachsmuth said he thinks the pair, who would have been around 13 years old at the time, were trying to send the message in a bottle across the Atlantic Ocean. In the message, they encouraged whomever found it to write them back. 

Wachsmuth, who has lived in Milton with his wife, Candy, for 11 years, handed the bottle and the message over to the Milton Historical Society. Attempts to reach Cathy Isaacs were unsuccessful. 

“I would like to get it back to the two ladies who drafted the message back in 1985, which was the year I graduated high school, by the way,” Wachsmuth said. “I’m sure they were hoping it crossed the Atlantic Ocean, but at least it was found 35 years later in one piece.”


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