The message in a bottle, possibly one of the most romanticised, yet in reality, often the most desperate act of one’s life. Seen throughout Hollywood and literature alike, often attached to a tale of star-crossed lovers… Or a last-ditch effort by marooned sea-dogs.
The casting of your deepest thoughts, of love or desperation to the deep blue, leaving the fate of your bobbing tale to Poseidon. And although the actual retrieval of these heartfelt scribes is often never witnessed, sometimes the amazing can happen, sometimes fate can shine a most peculiar light upon your tiny seagoing messages, and they have turned up in the most unlikely of places, and after the most amazing, yet never to be told journeys… And our next item of interest is no exception. Recently discovered and thought to be the oldest message in a bottle ever to have survived the ravages of the sea, and live to tell its tale. At the beginning of 2018, Photographer Tonya Illman, was combing a western beach near wedge island, within Australia, when she happened upon a green gem glistening in the sand, when she saw the 132-year-old bottle, she instantly took a shining to it, feeling that I would make a great addition to her home. Quote, “When I got back to the car, I handed it to my son’s girlfriend, Bree Del Borrello, to mind while I helped my husband get my son’s car out of the soft sand.” End quote.
Ms. Del Borrow looked inside the bottle and saw what she thought was a cigarette, but to her astonishment, upon closer examination, discovered it was a damp, tightly-rolled note tied with string. Written in German, it was dated the 12th of June, 1886… Tonya has not only discovered a bottle that had been bobbing around in the ocean for over a century, during which it had lost its cap… But has discovered a message cast overboard over 132 years ago… The message included a ship’s coordinates, the date, the name of the ship, and also asked the finder to write when and where the bottle had been found, by returning it to the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg, or to the nearest German consulate. After matching the name to maritime records of ships, they found the handwriting was similar to a captain’s entries in a meteorological journal. Incredibly, it was an entry pertaining to June 12th, 1886, made by the captain, recording a drift bottle having been thrown overboard. Not only has Tonya successfully recovered the oldest known surviving message in a bottle, but also successfully tracked down its original owner. An amazing series of events. The bottle and its message will be on display at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle, for the next two years.