A Scottish fisherman has set a Guinness World Record by recovering the oldest-known message in a bottle, besting the previous record by more than five years.
Sailing the vessel “Copious,” skipper Andrew Leaper, 43, discovered the bottle floating east of the Shetland Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. It was set adrift more than 98 years ago in June 1914 by Capt. CH Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation, the BBC reported.
Guinness World Records has confirmed that the bottle is, in fact, the oldest ever recovered.
Yet those hoping for a dramatic message from a desperate seafarer or marooned sailor will likely be disappointed with the near century-old message.
“Please state where and when this card was found, and then put it in the nearest Post Office,” the message reads. “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.”
According to the BBC, the bottle was one of 1,890 research bottles that were designed to sink in order to map the ocean currents surrounding Scotland. Thus far, only 315 of them have been returned.
Coincidentally, the bottle that held the previous world record was found by a friend of Leaper’s who was sailing the exact same ship.
“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. It’s like winning the lottery twice,” said Leaper in a statement posted on the Scottish Government website.
Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead lauded the find in the same statement.
“It’s amazing that nearly 98 years on, bottles are still being returned to the Marine Laboratory – and in such fantastic condition,” he said.
Aside from requesting the finder record the details of the discovery, the postcard inside the bottle also promises a reward of sixpence. Unfortunately for Leaper, that particular coin no longer exists.