I was quietly digging in the walled garden this morning when my phone alerted me to a facebook message. A journalist friend of mine wanted to let me know that a message in a bottle had arrived on a beach near me. Would I go and look for it? Well, if it’s a toss up between digging in the rain and going on a treasure hunt, I’ll pick the treasure hunt every time. I set off with nothing more than a google map of the location. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the thought of finding it was pretty exciting – I am a geocacher after all, I like a good hunt for a needle in a haystack. I can also quote chapter and verse of pretty much any Famous Five or Secret Seven book, so all in all, the kid in me was pretty darn up for it.
It look less time than I thought to find the bottle, because as bottles go, it was practically bomb proof! Once I got it home, I did a bit of research and found out about the story behind my new yellow friend.
One year ago (January 10th 2016), Verkís, in collaboration with Ævar the scientist, a popular Icelandic children’s TV personality, launched two messages in a bottle. The bottles were equipped with a satellite transmitter that locates them every four hours via a GPS receiver.
The route it has taken in the last year is bonkers! Check out http://gps.verkis.is/. The one I found is bottle number 1. Its friend is 10-14 days behind it, following a similar route. You can read more about the project here http://www.verkis.com/about-us/news/message-in-bottle-traveling-for-a-whole-year
Since it was the BBC who called me and asked me to go on this delightful distraction of an excursion, I indulged myself with a little filming. The video below is my attempt, with a phone and movie maker. It is a sad indictment of my 6 years in media and I wouldn’t speak for its production values, but I hope it gives you a flavour of the discovery ( I was fresh out of the garden which should explain my muddy hands. My mother will doubtless suggest I should have washed them before filming…)
Keep an eye out for the Scottish and Gaelic news tomorrow to hear my dulcet tones. In the meantime, I have been instructed not to open it, as there is nothing exciting inside, and to cover it in tinfoil ASAP in order to reduce the signal. It is sitting outside on my bench as, quite frankly, it stank to high heaven. I shall wrap it up as instructed and have a little dram to celebrate its auspicious arrival on the shores of the best island in Scotland 😉
Never a dull moment, I tell you.