Fisherman finds message in a bottle at sea for 98 YEARS and is now eligible for the reward – a sixpence
- Scottish skipper Andrew Leaper discovered drift bottle on same boat which recorded previous record-breaking bottle in 2006
- Bottle was thrown in to see by Captain CH Brown of Glasgow School of Navigation in 1914
- Drift bottles gave oceanographers important information about water circulation in seas around Scotland
By Amy Oliver
PUBLISHED:11:31 EST, 30 August 2012| UPDATED:19:47 EST, 30 August 2012
It’s doubtful whether he’ll get the sixpence finders fee offered in 1914.
But Scottish skipper Andrew Leaper will probably settle for the glory – and a new world record – after discovering a message in a bottle 98 YEARS after it was thrown into the ocean.
Me Leaper came across the bottle by chance while hauling in his nets, but almost lost it after it fell back into the sea before he rescued it.
He then noticed it contained a message asking the finder to record the date and location of the discovery and return the item to the Director of the Fishery Board for Scotland – for a reward of sixpence.
The crew learned the bottle – labelled as drift bottle 646B – had been thrown into the sea almost a century ago by Captain CH Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation.
It was one of 1,890 bottles designed to sink downwards and float close to the seabed in an attempt to monitor the under-currents of the seas around Scotland.
To date, only 315 of the bottles have ever been located, but Captain’s Brown’s original log, now held in Aberdeen by Marine Science Scotland, is still updated every time one is tracked down.
Incredibly, the discovery was made on Copius, the same Shetland-based fishing boat which recorded the previous world record for the longest time a drift bottle has been known to spend at sea, in 2006.
Mr Leaper, 43, joked that his friend and colleague Mark Anderson, who set the previous record in was ‘very unhappy’ his find had been surpassed.
He said: ‘He never stopped talking about it and now I am the one who is immensely proud to be the finder of the world record message in a bottle.
‘As we hauled in the nets I spotted the bottle neck sticking out and I quickly grabbed it before it fell back in the sea. I couldn’t wait to open it.
‘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. This is a very popular fishing ground, with half the North Sea fleet fishing here.’
Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead added that it was possible another of the bottles released in 1914 could go on to break the record again.
He said: ‘The story of scientific drift bottles is a fascinating one and harks back to an area when we were only beginning to understand the complexities of the seas.
‘It’s amazing that nearly 98 years on bottles are still being returned to the Marine Laboratory and in such fantastic condition.
‘With many bottles still un-returned there is always the chance in the coming years that a Scottish drift bottle will once again break the record.’
Dr Bill Turrell, Head of Marine Ecosystems with Marine Scotland Science, said: ‘Drift bottles gave oceanographers at the start of the last century important information that allowed them to create pictures of the patterns of water circulation in the seas around Scotland.
‘These images were used to underpin further research, such as determining the drift of herring larvae from spawning grounds, which helped scientists understand the life cycle of this key species.
‘The conclusions of these pioneering oceanographers were right in many respects, for example, they correctly deduced the clockwise flow of water around our coasts.
‘However, it took the development of electronic instruments in the 1960s before the true patterns of current flows, and more importantly what causes them, were unlocked.’
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