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Couple Finds World’s Oldest Message in a Bottle in Western Australia

Couple Finds World’s Oldest Message in a Bottle in Western Australia

I’ve lived my entire life along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, yet sadly I have never found anything interesting in the sand, let along something as exciting and mysterious as a message in a bottle. Which is why it’s hard to imagine how thrilling it must have been for one couple in Western Australia who not only discovered one, they found one that was thrown into the sea almost 132 years agos, making it the oldest message in a bottle found in the world.

Tonya and Kym Illman of Perth, Australia, who we first heard about at the BBC, found the bottle half-buried in the sands of a dune near Wedge Island in Western Australia on January 21 of this year. Inside the uncapped bottle was a rolled up piece of paper tied with twine. They put it in the oven to dry it out so they could safely unroll it, but there was no way anyone could have been prepared for what they found, because the note turned out to be from the German ship Paula, which had tossed it into the sea on June 12, 1866.

Historians helped them confirm the bottle was tossed into the Indian Ocean on the date listed, likely washing up in Australia a year later. In fact, it was one of thousands of messages in a bottle German ships threw into the ocean over a 69 years long research project to chart ocean currents. The last one was found in 1934 in Denmark.

So what did it say? “A hot dog is not a sandwich.” Okay maybe not. Like all of those messages it asked for a response from whomever found it with the location of where it had washed up. But it’s impossible to think anyone on the Paula thought an answer would take so long, making this an accidental message to the future in a bottle.

You can read more about the Illman’s discovery at their website, and then tell us what message you’d want to send 132 years into the future in our comments below.

Featured Image: Kym Illman

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