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iSails 2020 - February - LEADERBOARD

131-year-old message in a bottle found on Australian beach

by Brigit Katz 10 Mar 2018 19:42 UTC
Oldest message in a bottle © Kymillman /

In 1886, sailors on a German ship tossed a bottle into the Indian Ocean as a way of measuring the currents.

Inside was a note politely requesting that the finder record details of where and when the bottle was discovered. But nobody came across the bottle until January of this year, when, as Naaman Zhou reports for the Guardian, a woman stumbled upon the relic on a beach in Western Australia.

Tonya Illman was exploring the dunes near Wedge Island, located around 110 miles north of Perth, when she saw an interesting-looking bottle lying in the sand. She picked it up, thinking it would make a nice display piece for her home. Illman handed the bottle to her son's girlfriend, Bree Del Borrello, who spotted a tightly rolled note inside.

The letter was too damp to open, so Illman later popped it in her oven to dry it out. When she and her family unfurled the note, they could see it was printed on both sides in German. The family also noticed handwritten lettering, much of it badly faded.

"I could easily make out the day and month—June 12th —but the year was harder to decipher," Kym Illman, Tonya's husband, explains on a website he created to detail the discovery. Kym could also see the word "aula," leading him to suspect that the bottle may have been thrown from a ship christened Paula.

Read the full article here...

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