The oldest message in a bottle discovered in a gin bottle after 132 years

Oldest message in a bottle
Credit: kymillman.com

It happened on a beach walk on a Sunday just north of Wedge Island in western Australia.

Tonya Illman and her friend Grace Ricciardo were just walking to their car when Tony spotted  something unusual sticking out of a sand dune.

“I picked it up thinking it might look nice on display in my home and when I got back to the car, I handed it to my son’s girlfriend, Bree Del Borrello, to mind while I helped my husband get my son’s car out of the soft sand,” explained Tonya on kymillman.com.

It appeared to hold a cigarette. But when Tonya upended the open bottle, a small scroll tied with a piece of string fell upon the sand.

That scroll may be the oldest message in a bottle.

It’s believed the bottled survived a 950 km journey at over 100 years at sea. In fact, when confirmed by Guinness World Records, the 108-year old bottle will be the oldest recorded in history. It’ll top the last record keeper by 23 years.

The bottle just had to be a 1800s era Dutch genever bottle, of course. Genever, if you don’t know, is modern day gin’s predecessor.

But what did it say? Where did it come from?

According to the note, the bottle originated from a journey from Cardiff to Indonesia, or what was then known as Macassar, Dutch East Indies.

It is said to have been chucked from a German barque on 12 June 1886 by Captain O. Diekmann.

Tonya popped the waterlogged note in the oven and, together with friends and family, were able to decipher the note.

Written in German, Tonya’s husband Kym was able to figure out the message with some assistance from Google Translate.

The writer provided the exact date and coordinates the day the bottle was thrown overboard. And in return,  the note asked the finder to provide details of when and where the bottle was found.

Quite a bit later, we’d say!


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