When you were a kid, did you ever put a message in a bottle and toss it out to sea? I did. Well, actually, I put it in a balloon, and then inflated the balloon…but…same idea.
This week, a couple walking on the beach in Australia found an old gin bottle with a message inside. They picked up the bottle, thinking it was rather unique. They figured that with a good cleaning would look great on their bookshelf! They were rather surprised to find a roll of paper printed in German inside the bottle and dated to June 12th 1886, which was authenticated by the Western Australian Museum.
The bottle had been thrown overboard from the German sailing ship Paula in 1886 as it crossed the Indian Ocean, 950km from the Australian coast, according to the museum’s assistant curator of maritime archaeology.
It turns out that German ships in the area at the time were conducting an experiment to track ocean currents.
Details from the note in the bottle match records of that time and in fact, details of the bottle and it’s contents were jotted down by the Captain of the Paula on the date of it’s release.
Several other bottles from the same set of experiments have been retrieved throughout the years, but the last one discovered was in 1934. This makes the 132 year old gin bottle and it’s contents the oldest message in a bottle ever found.
Now I just wonder if any of my balloons were ever discovered…
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