Although it’s technically littering, throwing a bottle containing a message in the ocean in the hopes of someone finding it is a lovely, romantic idea. Chances of anyone finding it are very slim, but it’s cool to think someone might pick it up halfway across the world.
Paul Elliot and his son Jyah found a bottle containing a 50-year-old message on the southern Australian coast while fishing. The note identifies the author as Paul Gilmore, a 13-year-old English boy traveling on a ship along the southern Australian coast from Fremantle to Melbourne, and it’s dated November 17, 1969. The note also gives an address in Melbourne, and encourages whoever finds it to write him a reply.
This week, ABC reported that it had found Gilmore’s sister, Annie Crossland, who revealed that currently (and fittingly) her brother is on a cruise in the Baltic Sea. “It’s amazing, absolutely incredible,” she said. “He’ll be chuffed to bits. The last time he was on a ship was probably going to Australia. Cruises aren’t his thing.”
Crossland had also been on the ship in 1969, and recalled seeing her brother writing the message that he would later put in the found bottle.
As reported by The Guardian, according to oceanographer David Griffin, the bottle had probably been buried on a beach for years, and then refloated by a storm. “If it had been dropped in anywhere in the ocean somewhere south of Australia,” he said, “then there’s no way it’s going to stay actually at sea moving around for more than a year or two.”
The improbability of discovering this bottle is pretty staggering, and Gilmore has quite a surprise in store when he returns from his cruise.