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by ibgames

EARTHDATE: March 11, 2018

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by Hazed

A message in a bottle has been found half-buried in the sand of a beach in Western Australia. Nothing unusual there, you’d think – but this one dates back to 1886, making it the oldest known message in a bottle.

The contents of the message indicate that it was thrown off a ship in the Indian Ocean about 590 miles from where it was discovered, then spent more than a century floating around in the sea. It was found by a beachgoer in January.

Despite not having a cork, the message survived the waves without too much damage.

The message and its bottle were part of a German experiment to chart the ocean currents. Between 1864 and 1933, thousands of bottles were tossed overboard from German ships. Each contained a message which marked the date, the exact coordinates where the bottle was jettisoned, the name of the ship, its home port and its route.

On the reverse of the paper was a questionnaire, so that whoever found the message could write down where and when the bottle had been discovered, and return the information either to the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg or the nearest German consulate.

The ink on this particular message was faded so the finder, Tonya Illman, and her husband Kym, had to do some investigating. They were able to make out some of the Captain’s writing, which showed it was thrown from a ship called Paula on 12 June 1886, during a voyage from Cardiff to Makassar.

They took the bottle to an Australian museum, and staff there contacted researchers in Germany, who were able to find the record made by the Captain of when the bottle was jettisoned.

The bottle is now on display at the Western Australian Museum.

Source: https://www.sciencealert.com/oldest-known-message-in-a-bottle-ocean-currents-german-barque-paula?perpetual=yes&limitstart=1

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