Message in bottle found after 98 years

Nearly a century after being set adrift, a bottle with a message has been recovered in the North Sea.

Andrew Leaper, skipper of the Shetland fishing boat “Copious,” made the discovery back in the spring when hauling in his nets off the coast of Shetland. He recently learned that the message in the bottle had been adrift for 97 years and 309 days.

That surpassed the previous record by more than five years, according to Guinness World Records.

Labeled as drift bottle 646B, the record-breaking bottle contained a postcard asking the finder to write down the date and location of the discovery and return it to the “Director of the Fishery Board for Scotland,” according to DiscoveryNews.

The postcard promised a reward of six pence, the publication added.

The water-tight glass bottle was released on June 10, 1914, by Captain C.H. Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation.

The bottle was one of nearly 1,900 scientific research bottles specially designed to sink downward and float close to the seabed.

“Drift bottles gave oceanographers at the start of the last century important information that allowed them to create pictures of the patterns of water circulation in the seas around Scotland,” said Bill Turrell, head of Marine Ecosystems with Marine Scotland Science.

The previous record was held by Leaper’s friend Mark Anderson, who set the mark in 2006 when he retrieved another Scottish bottle while captaining the same boat, DiscoveryNews reported.

“It was an amazing coincidence that the same Shetland fishing boat that found the previous record-breaking bottle six years ago also found this one. It’s like winning the lottery twice,” Leaper said.

Of the drift bottles released in 1914, 315 have been found so far. Brown’s original log, now held by Marine Scotland Science in Aberdeen, is still updated each time a bottle is tracked down.

“It’s amazing that nearly 98 years of bottles are still being returned to the Marine Laboratory – and in such fantastic condition,” Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead said.

“With many bottles still unreturned there is always the chance in the coming years that a Scottish drift bottle will once again break the record,” Lochhead added.

(HT: A Blog About History)

2 thoughts on “Message in bottle found after 98 years

  1. When I read this on the news last week I immediately looked for an article about the original release but I couldn’t find one. Disappointing!
    What an amazing thing for the bottle to be still intact after so long adrift.

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