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A 50-year pen pal friendship that started with a message in a bottle

(CNN) — Robbinroger Beever was 15 years old and walking home along a beach in Liberia, West Africa.

The year was 1967. Beever’s family lived near Monrovia, where his diplomat father worked at the US Embassy.

It was high tide and the sea had washed up seaweed and planks of wood and strewn them across the beach. Amid the debris, Beever spotted something glistening in the late afternoon sun.

“I’m the type of person who’s very curious about what the ocean can bring to people who have their eyes open,” he tells CNN Travel.

Beever got closer. It was a whiskey bottle. Picking it up, he could see something coiled inside. He tried to open the bottle, unsuccessfully.

It’s probably just some kind of label, Beever thought, but decided to take it home anyway.

Back home, he showed the discovery to his mother. They put it on the dining room table and after a bit of effort they managed to prise the cap open.

The something inside wasn’t a label. It was a letter — a message in a bottle.

Beever uncoiled…