“BREAK THE BOTTLE” was the first thing Marianne Winkler saw inside an old glass bottle she came across earlier this year.
The bold red type of the words caught Marianne’s attention as she walked on the beach of the German Amrum Island in the North Sea. “My husband, Horst, carefully tried to get the message out of the bottle, but there was no chance, so we had to do as it said,” she said.
Inside the bottle, they found an undated postcard that promised one shilling for anyone who found the bottle and returned the postcard to the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, England. Winkler did as the postcard asked, thus completing a chain of events that began over 100 years ago.
“It was quite a stir when we opened that envelope, as you can imagine,” said Guy Baker, the communications director at the Marine Biological Association. As it turns out, the bottle was part of an old ocean currents study carried out by researcher George Parker Bidder, who released over 1,000 bottles into the North Sea between 1904 and 1906. Using the data he collected, Bidder proved how ocean currents work in the region.
The Winklers and the Marine Biological Association are currently waiting for Guinness World Records to confirm that, at 108 years, this is the oldest message in a bottle ever found. (The current record is 99 years, 43 days.)
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I’ve never found anything this cool!