When Scottish skipper Andrew Leaper hauled in his nets on April 12, little did he know that they carried more than the usual catch of monkfish and cod. Instead, Leaper set a new world record.
Guinness World Records announced that Leaper caught the world's oldest message in a bottle east of Shetland, confirming that the bottle spent 97 years and 309 days at sea.
The bottle was released on June 10, 1914, by Captain CH Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation, who used bottles with messages as part of a scientific experiment to chart water currents. The launch of this particular bottle, which carried a postcard promising six pence to the finder, was noted in Brown's logbook, according to Guinness.
The BBC reports that by chance, Leaper was aboard the same fishing boat -- the Copious -- that found the previous record-holding bottle. That bottle was caught in 2006 by Leaper's friend Mark Anderson. "It was an amazing coincidence," Leaper told the BBC. "It's like winning the lottery twice."
Scottish news channel STV reports that Leaper has donated the bottle to the Fetlar Interpretative Centre in Shetland.
315 of the 1,890 scientific research bottles that the Glasgow School of Navigation sent out have been found so far, Bloomberg notes.