In 1886 a message in a bottle was tossed into the Indian ocean from a German sailing ship and 132 years later it was found on a beach in Australia by a family out for a stroll.
The discovery was made by Tonya Ilman who stumbled across the gin bottle stuck in the sand on the west coast of Australia, Newsweek reported.
Picking it up, she realized there was a note inside that listed the date that the bottle had been thrown overboard, and the exact co-ordinates from where it was tossed.
The note also requested that whoever found the bottle to take the note to the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg “or the nearest consulate for the return to the same agency after filling in the information on the back,” USA Today reported.
The family handed over the note to the Western Australian Museum, where assistant curator of maritime archaeology Ross Anderson contacted colleagues in the Netherlands and Germany for assistance.
By comparing handwriting samples from the meteorological journal entries made by the ship’s captain and the note, experts were able to confirm the relic’s authenticity.
“The date and the coordinates correspond exactly with those on the bottle message,” Anderson said, per ABC News.
“The handwriting is identical in terms of cursive style, slant, font, spacing, stroke emphasis, capitalization and numbering style.”
It was determined that the message in the bottle formed part of an experiment conducted by German scientist Georg von Neumayer, who was using drifting bottles to gather data on ocean currents, USA Today noted.
The bottle was one of thousands that had been thrown overboard during the 69-year-long oceanographic experiment and had likely washed onto the beach six to 12 months later.
This find is the oldest known message in a bottle in the world, with the second oldest dating back 108 years, ABC said.
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