West Coast Finds

A disclaimer right at this front: I am sooo far behind with reporting all that happened to my bottles and messages over the summer months. Somehow, with the kids at home, travels to plan, and bottles to dispatch, it was very hard finding the time to also write about what was happening. So this is a post about things that happened already almost a month ago…

The bottle above is the one I left in a small harbour in Rhos-on-Sea, Saturday 3rd August. I stopped near what looked like the centre of the village, I dropped in the bottle from the wall you can see in the photo, and then we went to get ice cream cones for the kids. When we came back to the car, the bottle had vanished from sight. I found this slightly surprising because, tidal-wise, it had not been the best moment to leave it. The water was still retreating and would be for the next hours, but high tide was already 3 hours or such ago, and it landed in shallow water in what looked like an almost natural harbour. So I figured already back then that it might have been found.

On August 5th, a message about its find indeed reached me. Unfortunately the finder didn’t answer any of my subsequent messages, so I don’t know much. All I got was this photo together with the short message:

Found your message in bottle Rhos on sea north Wales 
Saturday 3rd August 2019

The decorated papermache “rod” looks slightly worse for wear but the paper is mostly dry, which supports my guess that it was found just moments after I put it in the water. For finders this is often disappointing, but I am excited about every bottle that reaches the hands of someone I didn’t know before!
So thank you for informing me about the find, it really made my day! And maybe it serves as some kind of consolidation, that apparently there are finders and openers of bottles out there, people that just seem to have a knock for finding them. Maybe you are one of them, and this is just the first of many messages in bottles you’ll find ­čÖé

As you can read in the letter above, this is one of the bottles that I made during the message in a bottle workshop here in Nottingham. Maybe not the most inventive of bottles. It always seems like that, that bottles that were made maybe a little less lovingly are found first. On that evening I was so busy with overseeing what the others were doing and telling them stories about messages in bottles that I found it hard to find the time to write and make much myself.

A collections of bottles made this summer. The one found in Rhos-on-Sea on the very left. In the front, with a wooden mother wearing a blue-and-white skirt (sort of) is Tracey’s bottle.

On August 12 another email reached me:

Hello. 

We are currently in the Lake District and have found one of
your message in a bottles. Water had got to it and made it 
hard to read and the Art is a piece of cloth with a piece 
of wood that was possibly attached to it. We found it at a 
beach near bootle station.

That got me thoroughly excited. The big question was: Which bottle was it that they found?

The only bottle that I dispatched this summer with wood and cloth would have been Tracey’s bottle. She glued a blue-and-white cloth to a wooden pin to create a human figure from it. – But did she include my contact data rather than her own?

Could one of Peter’s bottles have contained wood and fabric?

bottle number 41 went into the River Mercey 5 years ago

Or maybe it was an older bottle altogether? The bottle that I put into the river Mersey in Liverpool five years ago did have fabric in it, albeit not wood. The Glasgow bottle from five years ago had neither.

All other dispatches into the Atlantic ocean would have a faint chance of being swept up where it was found but that seemed very, very unlikely. I couldn’t recall making any bottle with fabric AND wood. And so it seemed it would have to be one of the bottles I put in for other folk. However, Tracey told me that although she agreed it sounded like it could be her bottle, however she indeed did not include my contact data.

But, we needn’t have worried. The finder was actually very responsive, and told me more about the finding and provided some photos when I asked him:

We had been out for the day and on the way back to the 
caravan site we decided to stop at the beach to let our 
dogs have a run. We were walking along the beach and I saw 
the bottle amongst some stones and could see the red wax on 
top so knew it wasnÔÇÖt rubbish. The is a green piece of 
cloth with like a yellow leaf or something. There was also 
a small piece of white painted wood possibly in the shape 
of a house?
(54.3051411, -3.4153905) this is the coordinates of where 
I found it.

Now this definitely is one of my bottles, and easily identified, too. It is message number 109, one of the bottles that I put in from the pier in Llandudno. That would mean it travelled about 110km in a week.

Since the water sloshes back and forth with the tides there, it might have doubled up on its way several times. I am mighty impressed with this little bottle! And so glad it was found by this man and his dog!

I am not so very pleased about that it drew in water in just a week. (That gives dire expectations for bottles which have been out longer than that.) I always try to learn from news like that, so I made sure that the rest of the bottles for this summer all have their cork properly and thoroughly covered in (sealing) wax. The red cap obviously served its purpose, though. And although the message was wet, it obviously was readable enough for to find out my contact data.

What he took for wood was actually papier mache which seemed to have kept up well enough. Here’s a picture of the bottle when it was still dry and in my hands:

miniature and message in a bottle

message no. 109 – still at home

It remains to be seen whether we’ll hear ever again of the other three bottles I also dispatched from the same point. It is so fascinating to me that bottles that I throw in almost at the same time at the same spot end up at different locations, and sometimes some of them seem lost, while others are found immediately. I am really looking forward to hearing more of those!

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Abwurf und Fund in der Ostsee / Dispatch and Landing in the Baltic Sea

Wolf Schindler an Bord der Rollo (1)

I am going to tell you today about the dispatch of three bottles and the immediate finding of one of them. Because all the protagonists are German, I am going to write in German with English translations in between.

Wie der Titel schon sagt, will ich heute von einem Abwurf (und auch gleich einem Fund) in der Ostsee erz├Ąhlen. – Mal wieder auf deutsch, weil alle Protagonisten Deutsche sind. Aber nun der Reihe nach:

Am 16.6. habe ich hier 10 meiner neuen Fl├Ąschchen vorgestellt (in der Zwischenzeit sind noch welche dazu gekommen, aber davon ein andermal). Nur einen Tag sp├Ąter, schrieb mir mein Online-Freund und Flaschenpostkumpane Peter Stein aka James Ismael Kuck, ob ich ihm nicht eine oder mehrere der Fl├Ąschchen f├╝r einen Abwurf in der Ostsee schicken wolle.

On June 16th I wrote a blogpost here, showing off my newest bottles. Just a day later, a fellow German writer of messages in bottles, Peter Stein, contacted me and asked, whether I might be interested in three of the bottles being dispatched in the Baltic sea.

It just so happened that he was about to meet another creator of messages in bottles, the German artist Wolf Schindler, who was going to go on a sailing boat trip, and he was going to carry and dispatch several bottles – and maybe he could also drop in mine. — Of course I was only too happy to send over three of them:

my bottles Numbered 106, 110, 111 on board the Rollo (1)

Und zwar hatte er vor, sich mit Wolf Schindler zu treffen, einem K├╝nstler (Malerei, ├╝berwiegend Acryl auf Leinwand, wenn ich das richtig sehe) aus Weilheim in Oberbayern, weit weg vom Meer. Aber trotzdem ist er ist auch Segler und Flaschenpostler: im Jahr 2000 startete er ein Flaschenpostprojekt, f├╝r das ├╝ber 5 Jahre insgesamt 50 Flaschen abgeworfen wurden. Aber wie so viele, die einmal damit beginnen, scheinen ihn die Flaschenposten nicht mehr loszulassen. Auf seinen T├Ârn Anfang Juli in der Ostsee (Start Kiel), hatte er nat├╝rlich auch Flaschenposten dabei. Na, und wenn man sich schon trifft, unter Flaschenpostlern, dann tauscht man auch gerne mal ein oder zwei Flaschen aus, und so hatte Peter f├╝r sein Treffen mit Wolf seinerseits was vorbereitet. So nun also die Frage an mich, ob ich nicht Peter was schicken wolle, das er dann mit zu Wolf bringen w├╝rde, und er w├╝rde sie dann, mit der Crew der Rollo (der Name des Schiffes, interessante Geschichte, die ihr hier nachlesen k├Ânnt) dann abwerfen.

all bottles together: the there small ones are mine, the two medium bottles were filled by Peter, and the three tall ones with red marking are Wolf’s (1)

Da konnte ich nat├╝rlich nicht “Nein” sagen, und habe gleich drei meiner Fl├Ąschchen auf den Weg gebracht. Am 26. Juni erhielt ich Nachricht von Peter, dass sie ihren Postweg heile ├╝berstanden haben.

On June 26th Peter contacted me to let me know that he received the bottles well. On the first of July they were handed over to the crew of the Rollo in Kiel:

Crew der Rollo (2)

Am 1. Juli dann wurden sie in Kiel der Crew der Rollo ├╝bergeben.

Am 5. Juli erhielt ich dann eine Nachricht per Email:

Hallo Hilke!

I found your bottle today at the ÔÇ×OstseeÔÇť in Gro├čenbrode nearby Island
Fehmarn!
The bottle was lying on the Beach!
In the Night was strong North West Wind!

VG, der Finder

Seit dem habe ich nach und nach die Reise der Flasche zusammengebastelt. Weiterer Email-austausch mit dem Finder ergab, dass es sich um Flasche Nr. 111 handelte, die mit dem einzelnen Haus.

Am 12. 7., nachdem Wolf wieder zu Hause war, habe ich von ihm einen “Logbuch-Ausschnitt” zugeschickt bekommen, aus dem hervorgeht, dass die Flasche am 1.7. abgeworfen wurde. Seine Notizen sind ziemlich genau:

auf der Fahrt von KIEL-HOLTENAU nach ECKERNF├ľRDE, Einf. Eckernf.- 
Bucht; 18.30 Uhr, Pos. 54┬░29┬┤N 10┬░01┬┤E, Wind 5 aus West, B├Âen 6-7, 
Wolken, Schauer

Das heisst, die Flasche war etwa 4 Tage unterwegs, und hat in der Zeit gesch├Ątzt knapp 70km zur├╝ckgelegt. Ich hab’ mir (von Peter) sagen lassen, dass das f├╝r die Ostsee ein ordentliches Tempo ist – aber anscheinend war ja auch ein ganz sch├Ânes Wetterchen!

contents of bottle No. 111 – obviously before sealing the bottle

On 5th of July, before I heard from Wolf when and where my bottles were dispatched, I received message of a finder, who had picked up my bottle No. 111 (the contents shown above) at a beach near Gro├čenbrode in Germany, on the continental land near the island Fehmarn.

On the 12th of July Wolf Schindler sent me the log entries that contain the dispatches of my bottles, and from that it follows that it travelled a little short of 70km in 4 days, which isn’t bad for the Baltic sea.

I wish all the other bottles kind finders and safe travels!

Nun hoffe ich auf weitere Fundmeldungen sowohl von meinen, als auch von ihren Schwesterflaschen!

Flasche Nr. 106 (3 H├Ąuser) am 2.7. auf der Fahrt von Eckernf├Ârde nach Marstal, N├Ąhe Damp abgeworfen.

Flasche Nr. 110 (Picknick) wurde am 5.7. auf der Fahrt von Faborg nach Sonderborg abgeworfen.Gute Fahrt, alles Flaschenposten!

the message, tied to the base onto which the little house is then mounted

Ein herzliches Dankesch├Ân an Peter S. und Wolf Schindler, f├╝r die Erlaubnis, eure Bilder zu benutzen. (1 Bildrechte Peter S., 2 Bildrechte Wolf Schindler)

Many thanks to Peter S. and Wolf Schindler for allowing me to use their photos. (1 copyright Peter S., 2 copyright Wolf Schindler)

Bottle No. 104 found!

A day after the dispatch in West Bridgeford, I was contacted by the finder of bottle No. 104.

It didn’t came far when compared to bottles dropped in the ocean, of course, but for a river bottle it didn’t fare too bad, it took two turns of the river after all:

bottle 104 map 01

I dropped the bottle in near the West Bridgeford Centre, and it was found neat the Water Sports Centre

bottle 104 map 02

The way the bottle made is about 4km long.

It was a joy to read that my finder was excited about the find despite its short journey. Apparently he was walking his sister’s dog and spotted something different between the rocks on the river bank.

He didn’t seem to have any difficulties opening the bottle, and the message was still completely dry. But I must say, I would have been disappointed if it didn’t survive a day on the river.

bottle 104 from top

photo provided by the finder and used with his kind permission

It is customary for me to reveal some making of once a bottle gets found, but there’s not much to say about this one that you can’t already see: The “sea” is made from paper mache, and I painted it a bit with acrylics. The paper boat is indeed folded from a tiny piece of paper, and I then sprayed it with acrylic varnish to make it a little more resistant. And then I glued it to the “sea”.

The finder plans to add his own message and drop the bottle in after the next lock. We’ll see whether it travels further next time.

Many thanks to the finder for contacting me about the bottle. It is always so uplifing when I hear one of them gets found! This was the first of five bottles that I dropped into the river Trent of which I heard back. As some of my readers will know, I had already almost given up on the river. But maybe I’ll give it another go. For now:

Happy second leg of your travel, little paper boat!

Found in the River Thames

going on shout

On Wednesday, 12th September 2018 I received a short Email with the following content:

“hi ,┬áwhile operating a rescue boat we came across this message in a bottle . we were in the area of the river Thames in the Richmond area .

attached are the images of the message and bottle.”

And indeed with this message several images reached me. The one above, obviously showing the crew of the rescue boat, and this image of the bottle itself:

20180825_171416

Now this image clearly identifies this as bottle number 86 which my daughter released into the river Thames in London almost exactly 17 months earlier. Uncharacteristically, it was indeed dispatched in a big bottle like this. I am delighted and a bit surprised that everything seems to be completely dry.

I remember making this bottles somewhat hastily: We were going to stay in London for a couple of days, and I didn’t have (enough) bottles ready to take with me. This print, on the other hand, was already in my stash of things to maybe put into a bottle. It turned out a little too big to fit into my tiny bottles, thought, and thus I took one of the lemonade bottles that I am already stashing for when my milk bottles run out.

Initially I thought, that this must be a secondary bottle. Assuming that someone else had found the bottle first, rebottles and resealed it, and then released it once again. That would explain why it was still completely dry. And also the bottle and cork seemed unfamiliar to me at first. I tried to contact the finders and ask them about any signs of another finder, but never received an answer to my emails. (Which is the reason, by the way, why this article comes so late.)

But while writing this, and comparing images once again, I begin to think that probably, this is the original bottle after all, and the cork just looks different because the wax came off. Probably, however, it was just the finders removing it. I don’t clearly remember but it looks in the dispatch photo, like I tied down the cork and then covered it in sealing wax. That must have formed a good seal after all.

London bottle 86

In the 17 months the bottle was afloat, it didn’t come awfully far: about 15 km. But it made its way along several turns, and maybe more than once, as the river in that part is tidal. The area where it was found has several islands, too. But I don’t know whether it was found tangled in woods or other things, or freely floating in the river, or maybe washed ashore somewhere.

This latest found raises the percentage of bottles found in the river Thames to 100% (2 dispatched, 2 found).

 

Bottle No. 92 found

On September 25th bottle No. 92 was found. I dispatched it on August 15th at the Maaraue during an awful thunderstorm. I threw it into the river Rhine from the banks, and that never really works well. And the bottle didn’t travel far. It got found just a couple meters downstream.

The interesting thing (for me) is that it got found by a member of the river police. They loved it, and it is now on display at their police station right there at the tip of that island where it was found.

When a bottle gets found, I usually share the making of story and a picture of its contents. In this case, the contents are not so very secret, but I included a close up above. The chocolate and the apple were made out of polymer clay. The pencil is the tip of a toothpick that I painted with some water colours.

With my small world bottles I experimented with hiding the accompaning letter behind or beneath the scenery. – It is hard to feature a scene inside the bottle on the one hand, and include the letter without disturbing the overall impression on the other hand. In this case, as you can see, I decided to mount the little scene on a thin piece of wood and hide the letter behind it.

London Bottle Found

No. 86 and 87 just before their drop

The photo on the left shows the two bottles that I tossed into the River Thames two weeks ago, April 12th to be precise. They were two fairly hastily made bottles, and I don’t have any photos of them in my studio. A few days before we left for London, M. said to me: “Don’t you want to drop some bottles while we are in London.” to which I replied truthfully: “Well, I’d have to make some first.”

But the time was lacking for anything fancy, and the fact that I didn’t have any ready made was due to a general frustration because my UK-river bottles didn’t fare well to date: not a single one was found!

But, as you know, I quickly made these two bottles on the evening before leaving. On April 12th they were dropped into the river Thames by my two helpers, and on April 18th an email reached me:

Hi Hilke,

 I wanted to let you know that I found your bottle with the bookmarks 
 in it, that you launched from Chelsea bridge on the Thames foreshore 
 near Barnes bridge yesterday.  I was looking for stone-aged tools when 
 I came across your bottle and it has indeed made me smile and also 
 confirmed that you always will find something unexpected on the banks 
 of the thames.
 What a lovely idea and an interesting project to do.

 I hope you have a great day and keep up the good art work.

 xx

What joy and excitement! Barnes bridge is It is such a small message, and being really busy at the moment, it took me some time until I managed to tell you about it, but it helped to raise my spirits so much. Since then I have been making 5 more bottles, but I’ll talk about them later.
According to google maps Barnes bridge is 2 bends upstream from Chelsea bridge. But of course the tides mess with the Thames’ currents and it might have gone to and fro for a while until it was found.

The green dot shows Chelsea Bridge (drop-off) the blue one Barney Bridge (where it was found).

As I said, this was hugely motivating. Maybe I’ll just have to drop them all into the Thames? And I made 5 more since I received this notice. But I’ll show you the new bottles in a new post. I am already writing it, so it will probably come up in the next days. I hope you’ll stay tuned!

First Bottle That Crossed National Borders has been found

photo: made by the finders, used with permission

photo: made by the finders, used with permission

Heute hat mich eine wunderbare Email erreicht, mit der Nachricht, dass Flasche Nummer 70 auf Sylt gefunden wurde. Im Bild oben die Flasche, wie sie gefunden wurde. Hier die Email:

wir haben Deine wunderbare Flaschenpost am Sonntag, dem 22.11.2015, am Strand von Sylt s├╝dlich der Sansibar gefunden. Vorsichtig und mit arch├Ąologischer Pr├Ązision haben wir uns dem schon etwas feuchten Inhalt gen├Ąhert und schlussendlich eine kleine ├ťberraschung entdeckt.
Mit gro├čer Freude haben wir #70 dann auch im Banner Deines Blogs als zweite von rechts wieder entdeckt.
Ein wunderbarer Urlaubsauftakt! Wir w├╝nschen Dir weiterhin viel Spass mit Deinem Projekt und freuen uns schon auf die n├Ąchste Botschaft aus den st├╝rmischen blauen Weiten.
Today I received wonderful news: Bottle Number 70 was found two days ago on Sylt, a German Island close to the Danish border. This is a rough translation of the email:
we found your message in a bottle #70 on Sunday, 22nd of November at a beach on Sylt, slightly south of the bar Sansibar. Carefully and with archaeological praecision we worked toward the slightly damp contents and were rewarded with a surprise in the end.
We were delighted to discover the bottle as the second from right on the banner of your blog.
What a wonderful way to start our vacation. We wish you continued joy with your project and are looking forward to our next message delivered by the stormy blue expanse.
no 70 sylt 05

photo by the finders, used with permission

Ich habe die Flasche am 19.8. in Wells-next-the-sea vom Strand ins Meer geworfen (Abwurfbericht hier). Und damit ist sie diejenige meiner Flaschen, die den weitesten Weg hinter sich gebracht hat (Karte unten), und als erste Landesgrenzen ├╝berwunden hat. Die etwa drei Monate auf See haben ihr nicht wirklich gut getan. Auf dem Bild kann man sehen, wie feucht die Nachricht ist – und ein wenig moderig. Vielleicht war die Idee mit dem wachsgetr├Ąnken Tuch als zus├Ątzliche Kappe doch gar nicht so schlecht… Gut zu sehen allerdings, wie gut die Tinte auf dem Papier der Feuchtigkeit standgehalten hat.

Wie zu sehen ist, handelt es sich bei Flasche 70 um einer von denen, deren Cover mit Hilfe eines Fischstempels gemacht ist, und der dann nat├╝rlich in der Flasche landet. Auch der Stempel scheint die Reise gut ├╝berstanden zu haben. – Ob er zum Stempeln zu spr├Âde geworden ist, oder noch funktioniert, wei├č ich nicht.

I threw the bottle into the water from a beach near to Wells-Next-the-Sea on August 19 (see blog post here). And so this is the bottle which drifted the furthest and the first to cross national borders. The three months it spend in the sea did cause some damage. You can see in the photo above how damp the message is, and everything seemed to have rotted a little. Maybe the idea of capping the bottle with some waxed cloth wasn’t so bad after all. Good to see, though, that the ink is still very much legible!

About the contents, well, you can clearly see that this is one of those bottles where the cover wrapper was made using a fish-stamp which then was of course included in the bottle. Whether it still can be used or maybe was rendered too brittle by the moisture, I cannot say.

Laut google maps hat die Flasche per Luftlinie eine Strecke von 530 km zur├╝ckgelegt. Ich erinnere mich nicht mehr, ob Treibgut in der Nordsee eigentlich im oder gegen den Uhrzeigersinn seine Runden dreht, und auch, wie lange eine Runde dauert habe ich nicht mehr in klarer Erinnerung, so dass ich dazu hier lieber nichts sage (vielleicht kann ja jemand, der mehr wei├č kommentieren). Aber ich neige zu der Ansicht, dass die Flasche nicht die Luftlinie genommen hat.
Zum Abschluss noch ein paar weitere Bilder:

According to google maps the distance between the dispatch and the finding location is 530 km. I can’t recall clearly whether flotsam in the North Sea travels in clockwise or anti-clockwise direction (it was one of those), and I can’t remember how long it takes to make a full round. One of my readers may be able to shed some light. But I am pretty certain the bottle did not take the direct route.
Some more pictures to finish this post:

Dispatch in Wells-next-the-Sea. It is indeed this bottle I am holding in my hand here

Dispatch in Wells-next-the-Sea. It is indeed this bottle I am holding in my hand here, just outside the picture frame.

Bottle No. 70, still clean and shiny, sitting still for a portrait before the dispatch

Bottle No. 70, still clean and shiny, sitting still for a portrait before the dispatch

no 70 sylt 02

Selfie of the finders at the finding location (image used with permission)