GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Johnny Garza didn't send an SOS to the world, but he did send a message in a bottle.
The Galveston County Daily News (http://bit.ly/2mr5STW ) reports the message wasn't anything substantial — it just contained Garza's name and contact information — but he stuffed it in a Tabasco bottle and tossed it off the coast of the Cayman Islands.
More than a year later, two Galveston residents recently recovered that same hot-sauce container, poking out between the rocks of the 10th Street Jetty.
"The water was lapping up on it," Tommy Barcelona, 46, said. "The waves went down and I looked down again and was like, 'Wait a second, there's a message in that bottle.'"
Barcelona climbed down into the rocks, where the bottle was lodged in tight.
"It was wedged in pretty good," he said. "It had probably been there a little bit."
He and his wife, Felicia Barcelona, 44, cleaned out the container, which Felicia described as "ordinary." They then discovered the bottle's neck was too small to allow for fingers or tweezers to pull out the message.
The Barcelonas decided to get the message out the only way they could think of — they smashed the bottle.
There, they found two rolled up sheets of paper — one, too wet to read, and another with Johnny Garza's phone number and address.
Tommy Barcelona texted Garza, who responded in disbelief. He'd been throwing messages in bottles into the ocean for years, and had never received a response, he told Tommy Barcelona.
Garza also told the Barcelonas that he was amazed to hear where the bottle ended up — in Galveston, his birthplace.
"It's just crazy," Tommy Barcelona said. "Of all the bottles he gets a response from, it's from where he was born."
Felicia Barcelona said she has always believed in the "magic of the island."
"A lot of crazy, magical things have happened to us on the island," she said. "It was a gift."
There's no way of knowing when the bottle arrived on the island, but it traveled a ways to get there. By the time it landed, it traveled at least 1,090 miles.
"People find things all the time on the island," Tommy Barcelona said. "I've found all kinds of things, but this one right here, it wins."