The bottle was missing for 131 years and 223 days after it was tossed overboard on June 12th, 1886, making it the oldest message in a bottle by a couple of decades. Previously, the oldest known message in a bottle was roughly 107 years old.

Back in 2013, someone in British Columbia, Canada found a message in a bottle from 1906. And then in 2014, some fishermen off the coast of Germany found a message in a bottle from 1913 that was 101 years old. But this latest find, which has yet to be verified by the Guinness Book of World Records, could be hard to beat.

Finding a century-old message in a bottle is incredibly rare, but still happens. The biggest obstacle is generally corrosion of whatever was sealing the bottle, rendering the note inside worthless. Curiously, the Illmans claim that they found this bottle without a cap, so it’s astonishing that the note inside survived.


The best theory might be that it made its way to shore before the cap came off and was covered by the sand dunes near Wedge Island, protecting the message inside from moisture. There was recently a cyclone north of the area, which may have disturbed the (presumably buried) treasure, bringing it to the surface of the beach. But at this point that’s just speculation.

“This has been the most remarkable event in my life. To think that this bottle has not been touched for nearly 132 years and is in perfect condition, despite the elements, beggars belief,” Tonya said. “I’m still shaking.”


[The Guardian and YouTube]