(row one left) Curiosity leads many people to throw notes in bottles into the sea to see where they might land. To others it’s a last desperate attempt to communicate with someone somewhere; (row one right two images) The old beer bottle that skipper Konrad Fischer plucked from is nets in 2014 contained a postcard dated 17 May 1913; (row two left two images) message in a bottle that reads “From Titanic. Goodbye all. Jeremiah Burke of Glanmire, Cork” washes ashore in Dunkettle, Ireland in 1913; (row two right two images) 1999. A bottle is discovered in the River Thames sent from World War I private Thomas Hughes, who wrote a message for his wife and tossed it into the English Channel as he left to fight in France in 1914. He was killed in battle two days later. The bottle is delivered to his 86-year-old daughter in New Zealand; (row four middle) Keep your messages on this 16GB Drift Bottles USB 2.0 Flash Memory Stick in drift bottles style. Get it HERE; (row four right) Social networking in its oldest form. Harold Hackett has sent out over 4,800 messages in a bottle and has received over 3,100 responses; (bottom right) In 1979 Event – “Message In A Bottle” by Police peaks at #1 in UK; (bottom left) In 2012, a note written by Sidonie Fery, who died at 18 in 2010, washes up in the Hurricane Sandy debris. The message, written when Fery was 10, reads: “Be excellent to yourself, dude.”
Ever start a conversation like that? Ever think about how many times in a week we are sending and leaving messages. Email, cellphone, Facebook, Intragram, Twitter, and more. Some days it seems like that’s all I do, or all we talk about in the national news. If I’m not reading and sending emails, I’m on the phone responding to voice messages, calling my awesome customers to talk about their latest PIA (Pain In The @#$) Jobs. I was wondering about how things “used to be” a long time ago before technology (I grew up in an era when yellow sticky notes used to be the way we “left a message”) and It got me to thinking about casting off a message and hoping for a return, long before telegraphs, mail and technology. So for my trivia buffs, here’s some info I think you’ll dig. Special thanks to nymag, national geographic and ezineartilcles.com.
And to get you in the mood, HERE is one of my favorite tunes you can listen to while reading – ENJOY!
- The earliest known message in a bottle was sent by the Greek philosopher Theophrastus, one of Aristotle’s pupils, in 310 B.C., as a way of testing his hypothesis that the Atlantic Ocean flows into the Mediterranean Sea.
- In the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth appointed a royal “Uncorker of Ocean Bottles” and makes the unauthorized opening of an “ocean bottle” a capital crime.
- In 1846, The United States Coast & Geodetic Survey begins releasing messages in bottles into the ocean en masse to gather data on ocean currents.
- Ensconced in a plain glass bottle, a scrap of paper drifted in the North Sea for 98 years. But when a Scottish skipper pulled it from his nets near the Shetland Islands, he didn’t find a lovelorn note or marooned sailor’s SOS. “Please state where and when this card was found, and then put it in the nearest Post Office,” read the message. “You will be informed in reply where and when it was set adrift. Our object is to find out the direction of the deep currents of the North Sea.” Sorry, romantics.
- A message in a bottle that reads “From Titanic. Goodbye all. Burke of Glanmire, Cork” washes ashore in Dunkettle, Ireland in 1913.
- In 1915, as the ocean liner Lusitania is sinking—after being torpedoed by a German U-boat—one passenger has time to pen this message: “Still on deck with a few people. The last boats have left. We are sinking fast … The end is near. Maybe this note will—”
- The message in a bottle found by Andrew Leaper is certified as the oldest ever recovered—belonged to a century-old science experiment. To study local ocean currents, Capt. C. Hunter Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation set bottle number 646B adrift, along with 1,889 others, on June 10, 1914.
- A passenger aboard the steamship “SS Arawatta wrote a message which was placed in a bottle and thrown overboard between Cairns and Brisbane in 1910. It was found June 6th, 1983 – 73 years later almost to the day – on Moreton Island off the Queensland Coast.
- The 73 year record was broken in 1996 when a fisherman found a bottle in the North Sea which had been in the water 82 years and which made the offer of a small reward if returned. The fisherman collected £1 from the British Government.
- And in the 18th century, a treasure-hunting seaman from Japan named Chunosuke Matsuyama, shipwrecked on a South Pacific island with 43 shipmates, carved a message into coconut wood, put it in a bottle, and set it adrift. It was found in 1935—supposedly in the same village where Matsuyama was born.
- In 1979 Event – “Message In A Bottle” by Police peaks at #1 in UK. And in 1973, Jim Croce, vocalist of the hit song “Time in a Bottle”, dies in a plane crash at age 30.
- Amateur fisherman Harold Hackett of Prince Edward Island, Canada, sends the first of over 4,800 messages in bottles. He’s since received more than 3,100 responses.
- In 1999, a bottle is discovered in the River Thames sent from World War I private Thomas Hughes, who wrote a message for his wife and tossed it into the English Channel as he left to fight in France in 1914. He was killed in battle two days later. The bottle is delivered to his 86-year-old daughter in New Zealand.
- In 2005, after being abandoned at sea off the coast of Costa Rica, 88 South American refugees are rescued when a fishing vessel receives their plea for help in a bottle tied to one of the boat’s fishing lines.
- In 2009, in a land-based discovery, workers near Auschwitz find a message in a bottle written by prisoners of the Nazi camp dated September 9, 1944, and bearing the names, camp numbers, and hometowns of seven men.
- In 2011, after the Italian bulk carrier Montecristo is hijacked by Somali pirates, the crew is rescued when NATO warships receive a message stating that it is safe to board the ship.
- In 2012, a note written by Sidonie Fery, who died at 18 in 2010, washes up in the Hurricane Sandy debris. The message, written when Fery was 10, reads: “Be excellent to yourself, dude.”
- There have been some amazing paths followed by sea bottle messages. Three that were dropped into the Beaufort Sea (map), above northern Alaska and northwestern Canada, became frozen in sea ice. Five years later, melting Arctic ice had flushed the bottles all the way to northern Europe. Another bottle circled Antarctica one and a half times before it wound up on the Australian island of Tasmania. Some have made it from Mexico to the Philippines. And others have demonstrated that oil spills and debris from development in Canada’s Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay could end up on Irish, French, Scottish, and Norwegian beaches.
- Today drift bottles are still used by oceanographers studying global currents. In 2000 Eddy Carmack, a climate researcher at Canada’s Institute of Ocean Science, started the Drift Bottle Project, initially to study currents around northern North America. In the past 12 years, he and his colleagues have launched some 6,400 bottled messages from ships around the world. Of those, 264—about 4 percent—have been found and reported.
- Bloomberg reports that June 1 is the 20th anniversary of text messages – with well over 8 trillion messages sent yearly. Wonder how many of those are responded to?
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