Fishermen get message across the sea

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 09/01/2014
Message in a bottle
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ
SOS TO THE WORLD: Graeme Pepperell has discovered a message in a bottle on Bell Block beach, eight months after it was tossed overboard from a boat off the coast of Tasmania.

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A message in a bottle has sailed across the Tasman Sea to a Taranaki beach.

Graeme Pepperell, 52, came across the barnacle-encrusted beer bottle just after dawn on Tuesday while on his early morning walk.

At first he didn't think the bottle, which was nestled on some rocks at Bell Block Beach, would contain a message.

"But when you pick it up and see there's actually paper in it, it's quite cool," he said.

"I'm quite amazed it made it the whole way here, and in one piece.

"I'm a bit surprised I actually found something like this. That's one thing off the bucket list. I've just got to find a mermaid now."

The bottle made the 2000 kilometre trip after it was cast overboard off the coast of Tasmania.

The short note inside the bottle is dated April 24, 2013, and tells the tale of Tasmanian fishermen working on a boat called the Insta-Gator who threw the bottle in to sea at a place called the St Helens barway.

Although the letter was nameless, the message did include two phone numbers.

The Taranaki Daily News phoned both numbers yesterday and got hold with one of the fishermen. Christopher Kershaw, of Tasmania, was surprised to hear that his bottle landed New Zealand soil.

Kershaw said when he and friend, Thomas Douglas, launched the bottle, they did not know would happen to it. "We were out fishing on the boat and got a bit bored," he said. "I did it once when I was a kid but got nothing back."

The Insta-Gator is a fisheries boat, launched in 2012.

The 25.1 m vessel is one of two in Tasmania and a handful across Australia equipped to freeze and export fish without having to go through a land-based facility.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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