The note that a 14-year-old Maryland boy put into a green glass bottle and tossed overboard on a cruise with his family five years ago has finally come back.
Hoskings, a retired electrician, didn't open it right away. He waited for his grandchildren to visit, and then he tried to pull the note out through the top of the bottle. When that didn't work, 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."
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," said Knopp, now 19 and a student at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. "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."
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," 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.
Knopp, who had been a summer intern at Baltimore's City Hall on fellowship, turned up on Internet searches and confirmed that he was the sender of the bottle.
The long search effort was worth it for Hoskins.
"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," Hoskings said.