Note drifted 8500km
Message in a bottle found on Stewart IslandEVAN HARDING
When Simon Taylor found a message in a bottle washed up on the Stewart Island coastline, he thought his boyhood fantasies had been realised.
Hoping to find a map revealing a hidden treasure inside, he opened the old wine bottle and pulled out a letter.
Its contents revealed the bottle was thrown off a boat off the northwestern end of South Georgia three years ago, meaning it had bobbed on the ocean for more than 8500 kilometres before washing ashore on Stewart Island.
Although impressed by the distance the bottle had travelled, Mr Taylor was nonetheless slightly disappointed by its contents.
There was no map of a hidden treasure, or revelations of a historic incident, or hidden map co- ordinates, he said.
"That flush of boyhood fantasy came back . . ."
Instead, the bottle contained a two-page letter from Irishman Luke Kenny saying he was working on a fishery research vessel off the coast of South Georgia when he threw the bottle overboard in May 2010.
Mr Kenny did draw a map, but it wasn't to locate a hidden treasure, it was of the area he was living in.
His letter asks himself why he is writing it and putting it in a bottle.
"I suppose just curiosity; to see where it goes and what happens. I do not know if the bottle will even survive its first few days and not end up smashed on the harsh and unforgiving coastline."
He writes that it is a wonderful thought that the bottle might bob around an ocean for a length of time on a lonely journey to deliver a message when it is ready.
"I wish it well on its voyage, I would like to go with it."
Mr Taylor, a Department of Conservation worker on Stewart Island, said he was beachcombing at Masons Bay in May when he found the bottle with the letter.
He was amazed at how far the bottle had travelled without smashing.
"It was just in a screw[top] wine bottle. There was nothing fancy about it."
When he read the letter he was a little disappointed. "Because, you know, I thought it might be a bit more juicy, but it was just this bloke Luke Kenny telling me about his job on a research boat."
Mr Kenny's writing revealed he was "quite an in-depth dude", Mr Taylor said.
Mr Kenny's letter also gave an address for the bottle finder to write to. Mr Taylor obliged, explaining, as asked, where he had found the bottle, who he was and what he did on Stewart Island.
"Luke wrote back to me and he was just blown away basically. I think it was just wonderment, 'oh, far out, it made it'."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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