The oldest message in a bottle has been retrieved after 108 years and 38 days at sea—after it was initially released by the U.K.’s Marine Biological Association on Nov. 30, 1906, in the southern North Sea.
The bottle, which contained a postcard asking the finder to return it for a reward of one shilling, was found by Marianne Winkler in Amrum Island, Germany, on 17 April, 2015. She returned the message to the Marine Biological Association (MBA) and Guinness World Records has confirmed the record.
The bottle was set out to sea as part of the association’s research on ocean currents and the behavior of commercial fish, according to the MBA. The agency was “thrilled” with the discovery. The postcard was addressed to G.P. Bidder, a prominent figure in the development of the MBA and of marine biology in the U.K. during the first part of the 20th century.
The association said on its website, “MBA staff were thrilled when a letter addressed to G. P. Bidder, containing an original postcard from one of his bottles, arrived at the MBA’s Plymouth laboratory in April 2015.”
Bidder had released over 1,000 ‘bottom trailer’ bottles into the North Sea between 1904 to 1906, with a return rate from fisherman of 55 percent, according to the MBA. Most of them were cast off the English shore.
— John Danks (@johnjdanks) April 19, 2016
Guy Baker, the communications officer at the MBA, said Winkler, who found the bottle, was sent the reward that was promised in the message.
“We found an old shilling, I think we got it on eBay. We sent it to her with a letter saying thank you,” said Baker to The Guardian.