Good4Utah and ABC7 help find sender of message in bottle

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - They've been used to discover ocean currents, as S-O-S for marooned sailors, and to communicate to loved ones and strangers in distant lands, but these days a message in a bottle is a rare find unless that is you’re Clint Buffington of Salt Lake City.


Clint asked Good4Utah for our help in tracking down one of his message in a bottle senders, turns out it wasn’t to hard to find John Buckel of Cupertino, California.


"Here's the Azores. Here's where it was actually launched from,” said Buckel.


79-year-old John Buckel, a retired Lockheed Martin engineer and once merchant marine, loves taking cruises with his wife Elizabeth.


"We've been cruising on vacation for I guess like 30 years,” said Buckel.


His trips took him across the world, and during his adventures he enjoyed another hobby launching letters into ocean.


Buckel explained, "The name of the game is to see how far it would go and where it would land and if anyone would find it.">


Buckel says he's launched about a half a dozen or so messages in bottles.


“So far I’ve had 3 successes,” said Buckel. "The first one was a lady in Hawaii, the second one was a fisherman on the Mississippi and third one I understand is a professional bottle collector."


Professional bottle collector, not quite, but he sure is good at it. In the last 7 years Clint Buffington has found 60 messages in bottles including Buckel’s.


Buffington read the message,” It says May 7th 2009. Please return this note to John and it gives his last name as well as his address and the last thing it says is for a reward."


The only reward Buffington wanted was to meet the man who wrote the note.


"I want to ask him why he does it, and where did he send it from, and where this one came from and what was he doing when he sent it?” said Buffington.


So we got some help from our friends in San Francisco to track john down.


Two men, years later, brought together the old fashioned way with a message in a bottle.


"I’m just so happy to finally make contact with you,” said Buffington to Buckel over the phone. “I've been looking for you for like 3 years now."


If you would like to help Clint Buffington find other authors of his found messages in bottles log on to: or

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