If you found the world's oldest message in a bottle, what might be inside? Got to be something cool or mysterious, right? Like a shipwrecked pirate's last will and testament, or perhaps the insane ramblings of a desperate castaway trapped on an island.
Turns out real life is a bit less dramatic. Australians Tonya and Kym Illman happened upon the bottle a few months back, but its mysterious message had nothing to do with pirate lore, castaways or even that
catchy song by Sting and The Police from the late 1970s.
After taking home the bottle and fishing out its contents, the married couple found a small note that resembled a rolled up cigarette. Instead of smoking it, they popped the note into the oven to "dry up the moisture," which revealed a cryptic ledger.
They later found out the ledger was from an experiment of sorts that the German Naval Observatory had conducted over 132 years ago. The details aren't exactly thrilling, but apparently the experiment was supposed to track shipping routes and ocean currents. According to one tweet, anyone who found a bottle was offered a small payment to return it to the German Naval Observatory for further analysis.
The dusty old bottle captured the imagination of a few on social media:
While many celebrated the historic find in Western Australia, others mocked and derided the bottle's anti-climactic message:
Sure, the message wasn't all that cool, like a pirate king giving us directions to the bones of his enemies and heaps of buried treasure. But, at least that nice couple got a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records! That's cool, right? Anyone?
The moral of the story is that you never know what you might come across in this world. And the next time someone finds a message in a bottle, maybe it will lead us somewhere amazing, like Davey Jones's locker. Anything's possible!