- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 13, 2009

BALTIMORE | A note that a Maryland student put into a corked wine bottle and tossed from a cruise ship in the Bahamas five years ago was found this summer in England by a man walking his dog.

Retired electrician Tony Hoskings of Cornwall spent weeks trying to find the sender of the note. After searching the Internet and seeking the aid of his local newspaper, Mr. Hoskings found Daniel Knopp, 19, a student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

When Mr. Knopp was 14, he was traveling with his parents, James and Grayson Knopp, and his sister, Rachel, aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, sailing from Baltimore to the Caribbean. Mr. Knopp wrote the short note on June 21, 2004, put it in a discarded wine bottle, corked it and threw it from his family’s stateroom balcony near Freeport.

“I never thought of it again,” Mr. Knopp said. “I completely forgot about that day. I thought it would be unreal if it were ever to be found, but I figured it would be destroyed by the ocean environment.”

But the bottle bobbed 4,000 miles, landing on sandy Cornwall beach in southwest England. It washed up at Perranporth, and Mr. Hoskings found it July 18.

“There is a group of us who walk our dogs on the beach,” he said. “I know the bottle washed in that day because the beach is swept clean every day by a machine.”

Mr. Hoskings decided to make a family event out of his discovery and waited for his grandchildren to visit. When the note wouldn’t come out easily, he used a glass cutter to open the bottle’s bottom.

The note said: “Hello, my name is Daniel Knopp. I am on a cruise ship. I hope whoever reads this finds great joy. God bless. I live in the Baltimore/DC area.”

“It was quite a journey, and if you traveled all those thousands of miles, I think you would want your people to know you had made it safely,” Mr. Hoskings said.

The green glass bottle was encrusted with barnacles. It had lost its label but its bar code stuck.

“It was amazing how readable the message was,” Mr. Hoskings said.

He looked on Facebook and found an entry but was not sure it was the right Knopp. He also contacted his local newspaper, the West Briton. A reporter there, Josie Purcell, got in touch with journalists at the Baltimore Sun.

Mr. Knopp, who had been a summer intern at Baltimore’s City Hall on a fellowship, turned up on Internet searches and confirmed that he was the sender of the bottle.

“It’s a very novel story, truly romantic in the classic nautical sense,” said Harrison Liu, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean International.

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