A Scottish skipper made a remarkable find during a recent fishing trip. When he pulled up his net, he found a bottle, and upon opening, discovered a 97-year-old message inside.
Andrew Leaper found the small glass bottle in April. Upon discovery, he learned it had been floating in the sea for 97 years and 309 days, reported the Scotsman.
The last record was set in 2006 by, coincidentally, a friend of Leaper's named Mark Anderson, who had been skippering the Copious, the same boat Leaper was navigating this past spring.
“I knew right away what I had found,” Leaper said, reported the Scotsman. “And it was an amazing coincidence that the same Shetland fishing boat that found the previous record-breaking bottle six years ago also found this one. There wasn’t a mark on the bottle. There wasn’t even any growth on it and it was completely clean. The cork took a bit of getting out and then I ended up having to use a bent welding rod and a pair of pliers to get the postcard out.
Both bottles were, also ironically, sent from a batch of scientific research "drift bottles". A total of 1,890 bottles were set adrift to learn more about the sea currents around Scotland, reported the Shetland Times. The bottles each contained a post card sent from the Glasgow School of Navigation, who'd initiated the study. The card promises the finder a sixpence.
What researchers will find interesting is that the bottle retrieved by Leaper was under 10 miles away from the point the Glasgow School of Navigation originally launched it into the North Sea. Leaper did note the bottle was probably trawled for about 10 or 12 miles, and said it is possible the bottle remained in the same spot for those 97 years.
BBC News reported the Guinness World Records did confirm the bottle as a new world record. BBC also noted only 315 of the original 1,890 have been recovered.
A spokesman for Guinness World Records said, “We are pleased to hear that the same vessel helped to break the Guinness World Records for ‘Oldest message in a bottle’ twice. This is a fascinating record, both historically and scientifically. We hope that future expeditions will retrieve more of these treasured messages from the sea.”
Leaper donated the bottle to the Fetlar Interpretative Centre in Shetland, a local museum.
**Note: This article has been updated with a correction. The original article spelled the name of the man who found the bottle as "Learner". The writer apologizes for this error.