F   I   C   T   I   O   N 

Message in a Bottle

Sandy Beach, Molokai, Hawaii

To you who finds this:
I surfed into the water here on May 12, 2012. This bottle and my surfboard will float. I won’t. I found this beautiful and heavy rock on my first trip to Molokai, and it’s tied to my waist. Its role now will be comforting to me.

I leave with no regrets other than the usual – maybe less than the usual. It’s just time. I’m sure I could stay on for a while and make friends and a whole new and happy life. But now, I’m 72 and have been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Pancreatic, if you must know. With my wife of 40 years gone and my kids grown and busy with their own lives, I think it’s time to offer a punctuation to mine. All I see ahead is pain. I’ve already had hints of that.

I find myself alone in the world, but not lonely. I’ve managed to acquire vast wealth during my happy and beautiful life. I’ve had all the love and happiness one could wish for. And it’s just logical for me now to control my fate.

So I choose to not be an invalid, to not be invalidated, and to make this final choice and return to our mother ocean, to stop breathing air and to let the water fill my lungs – to breathe in the world – and to become one with it.

The beach is beautiful and secluded, and I have travelled here purposely for this. I enclose a gift – it’s for you to keep – and hope you find it useful. I wish you the kind of good life that I have had. Farewell.

Manila Times – May 18, 2014

"Fisherman Makes Find of a Lifetime"

Armuelo Sepoi was tending to his nets on the beach near his Apo Island home when he saw something unexpected floating in the rocks. It was an old brown bottle.

“I was just watching the nets, pulling them in, and I see this old bottle and it is closed. I was about to throw it away but then I looked at it more closely. I opened it and there was a rolled up message, and then something else fell out.”

What fell out was a large orange cut diamond later measured to be 14.82 carats. It turned out to be a famous stone called “The Orange” for its rare and very pure shade. It's estimated value: 35.5 million dollars. The famous gem was said to be owned by millionaire architect and philanthropist Eric Branton, who disappeared mysteriously two years ago. Now it is owned by Sepoi.

“It is truly beautiful, like a blessing from God," says Sepoi, "But I don’t want it to change my life. I am a simple man, and the ocean is my mother.”

Sepoi then reportedly sailed out into the ocean and disposed of the gem before returning to his village.