Facing northward on a beach in Chilmark in early springtime 2014, Vineyard resident and cartoonist Anne Ganz stuffed a message in an empty bottle of Kentucky bourbon and tossed it out to sea.

The S.S. Pierce bourbon bottle that held Anne Ganz's message and was found on Nantucket. — Photo Courtesy of Anne Ganz

“Hello Beachcomber,” she wrote in her 2014 note, in black marker, both words underlined. “I hope this note traveled many sea miles and brings you a smile...The last note in a bourbon bottle returned to me after two days at sea. I hope this makes it to the U.S.A. mainland!”

Nine years later, the bottle has finally washed ashore, though not in the direction she was expecting. The week of Thanksgiving, Ms. Ganz’s bottle was found on Nantucket. 

“I can’t believe that it went from the North Shore of Martha’s Vineyard to the North Shore of Nantucket,” Ms. Ganz said last week.

Ms. Ganz found out about the message’s landfall through an email from Nantucket beachcomber Anne Keesler last week. 

Ms. Keesler, who was visiting Nantucket for Thanksgiving, found the message near 40th Pole Beach on the north side of the Island, with the bottle in relatively good shape. 

“I had just taken my dog for a walk down on the beach,” recalled Anne Keesler, the recipient of Ms. Ganz’s inter-Island message. 

“It was that Saturday after Thanksgiving when it was so cold and windy,” she said, and so Ms. Keesler and her black lab, Penny, walked against the blowing wind until they encountered the sealed, empty bourbon bottle nestled in a pile of seaweed brought in by the strong north wind.

Tossing bottles out to sea became a habit for Ms. Ganz since she moved to the Vineyard full-time in 2013. A few times a year, once a bottle was drained of bourbon or maple syrup, she would put a note inside and toss it to the chop, intended for far off lands. 

Ms. Ganz's note from almost 10 years ago. — Courtesy of Anne Ganz

The bottle that ended up on Nantucket was in such good condition, Ms Ganz said, that she has started to question how that bottle spent nearly a decade in transit. 

“I don’t think it was just floating if you look at that bottle,” Ms. Ganz said, instead theorizing a more circuitous route for the message. 

“My guess is that it was found on the mainland USA. It probably sat in different places. You know, maybe sheltered in a house, maybe a fishing vessel,” she said. “Someone eventually threw it back in the water.”

It’s not the first time a beachgoer has contacted Ms. Ganz after finding one of her bottles, which have ended up as far afield as Westport. 

“I was out walking the Surf Drive beaches this a.m. hoping to find scallops,” wrote Pam Stark of Falmouth to Ms. Ganz in 2014. “Unfortunately, the gulls beat me to it but the consolation was finding your message in a bourbon bottle.”  

Other attempts at long-distance communication have been less successful.

“Many were returned to sender,” Ms. Ganz said, washing back up on the same beach from which they departed. 

The ones that do find a recipient, though, always bring a smile to her face.

“It gave me enjoyment, and the beachcomber,” Ms. Ganz said. “This was amusing.”