Messages in bottles connect P.E.I. man with the world

Harold Hackett likes to communicate with people around the world by sending messages in bottles.

Harold Hackett has thrown 8,000 bottles in the ocean over last 20 years

Bottle man of P.E.I.

7 years ago
Duration 1:10
Harold Hackett has thrown about 8,000 bottles containing messages into the water off Tignish and has received correspondence back from all over the world.

Harold Hackett likes to communicate with people around the world in a unique way.

Rather than use social media, Hackett sends his messages in a bottle.

The Tignish resident has thrown about 8,000 bottles in the ocean over the last 20 years.

Now 62, Hackett says he threw the first one overboard in May 1996.

"I was out fishing one day with my cousin Jason Hackett, tuna. And tuna is a waiting game, so I drank a bottle of Pepsi and I decided to put a little white note in it and I tossed it over," he said.

Harold Hackett uses cranberry juice bottles to send his messages around the world via the ocean. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)
"Taped it with electrical tape. Then the bottles were glass so I didn't figure it was going even get to anybody."

But three months later, Hackett received a letter from someone in the Magdalene Islands.

Since then, he's had 4,300 responses to the 8,000 bottles he's thrown in the water.

"Feels good. Pretty near every time I go to the mailbox I get a letter," said Hackett.

Hackett throws about 500 bottles in the water at North Cape each year. All he puts in the cranberry juice bottles is a note with his mailing address.

"And then I write back every single person. Every single person I write back to. All over the world."

Visiting and visitors

Hackett has received letters from people in Africa, South America, Europe, and San Francisco.

A couple from Holland that found one of his messages even showed up on his doorstep.

Harold Hackett responds to every letter he receives from someone who finds his messages in a bottle. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)
"They didn't even know P.E.I. existed. When they landed in the yard, me and my mom and dad were eating dinner," he said.

"A big motorhome drove in. Lady came to the door. I knew she was coming about a letter because she had my letter that she had found in the bottle. She had in her hand."

Hackett was invited to sail around the world by a couple from South Carolina. But he turned it down.

"I don't like the water. I almost drowned a few times."

Instead, the couple came to P.E.I. to visit him.

Hackett has travelled to see others he corresponds with.

"I'd just like to be able to visit them all. It's really nice, like in Newfoundland when I visit the people and take them and show them their letter. It was wonderful," Hackett said.

Hackett says he has no plans to stop throwing his bottles in the water. He said he's thought about getting a computer but hasn't.

Hackett says he enjoys getting the letters at the post office.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?