February 24th, 2021



News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published May 17,2018


Environmentalists decry all the debris washing up on beaches around the world, but a discovery in January near Perth, Australia, has historians thrilled. The Washington Post reported that Tonya Illman and a friend were walking along the beach when she spotted "a lovely old bottle." Inside was a damp note, tied with string. "We took it home and dried it out ... and it was a printed form, in German, with very faint German handwriting on it," she said. Experts at the Western Australia Museum have determined the note was 132 years old -- 24 years older than the previous record for a message in a bottle. The note was dated June 12, 1886, from a ship named Paula. Further study revealed that a German Naval Observatory program was analyzing global ocean currents in the area between 1864 and 1933, and an entry in the Paula's captain's journal made note of the bottle being tossed overboard. Thousands of other bottles were released into the sea as part of the program, and only 662 have been returned. The last one discovered was in January 1934. [The Washington Post, 3/6/2018]

It may not be the oldest ever found, but the message in a bottle found by 12-year-old Joseph Vallis of Sandys Parish, Bermuda, certainly traveled an impressive distance -- more than 1,000 miles. The Royal Gazette reported that Vallis and his Warwick Academy class were picking up trash around Bailey's Bay on March 10 when he came across a green bottle with a plastic bag inside. He and his father, Boyd, uncorked the bottle and found a note dated April 2014 that had been set adrift from a French sailing yacht crossing the Atlantic. The note included an email address and invitation to contact the authors, but as of press time, the Vallises were still awaiting a response. [The Royal Gazette, 3/12/2018]