The chances of finding a message in a bottle are about the same as winning the lottery, but one Scottish fishing boat found two in the last six years, breaking its own world record after previously uncorking the world’s oldest message in a bottle.
Skipper Andrew Leaper from Shetland made his discovery off the coast of Scotland in April while working on the Copius fishing vessel. Guinness World Records has confirmed the find.
“The oldest message in a bottle spent 97 years and 309 days at sea,” Guinness announced. “The bottle was discovered 9.38 nautical miles from the position it was originally deployed.”
Leaper found the bottle by accident while pulling in his fishing nets. When opened, the message in the bottle asked the finder to record the date and location of the discovery, and to return the drifting treasure to the Director of the Fishery Board of Scotland for a reward of six pence.
Numbered 646B and dated June 1914, the bottle had been cast into the sea by Captain CH Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation. It was part of a scientific attempt to monitor the undercurrents of the waters around Scotland. To date, only 315 of the 1,890 bottles originally used in the experiment have been found. Each new find is being recorded by Marine Science Scotland.
In a surprising twist of fate, the last Guinness world record for the longest drifting bottle was also found by the Copius fishing vessel in 2006, by Leaper’s friend Mark Anderson. “It was an amazing coincidence,” STV News quoted Leaper as saying. “It’s like winning the lottery twice.”
Scotland hopes to set new world records in the future.
“It’s amazing that nearly 98 years on, bottles are still being returned to the Marine Laboratory – and in such fantastic condition,” STV News quoted Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead as saying. “With many bottles are still unreturned, there is always the chance in the coming years that a Scottish drift bottle will once again break the record.”