Found in the River Thames

going on shout

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

“hi , while 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).

 

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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 südlich der Sansibar gefunden. Vorsichtig und mit archäologischer Präzision haben wir uns dem schon etwas feuchten Inhalt genähert und schlussendlich eine kleine Überraschung entdeckt.
Mit großer Freude haben wir #70 dann auch im Banner Deines Blogs als zweite von rechts wieder entdeckt.
Ein wunderbarer Urlaubsauftakt! Wir wünschen Dir weiterhin viel Spass mit Deinem Projekt und freuen uns schon auf die nächste Botschaft aus den stürmischen 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 überwunden 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 wachsgetränken Tuch als zusätzliche 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 natürlich in der Flasche landet. Auch der Stempel scheint die Reise gut überstanden zu haben. – Ob er zum Stempeln zu spröde geworden ist, oder noch funktioniert, weiß 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 zurückgelegt. 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 weiß 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)

Bottle Number 61 found

Mablethorpe 010

Message Number 61 on 1st of August, minutes before being released into the water

 Hi,
I am a 12 year old boy, and from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. I found your message in a bottle, number 61, in the sea at Mablethorpe near the seal sanctuary, on August the 3rd 2015.
I was swimming in the sea with my Dad, I thought it looked like something interesting so I asked my Dad to swim out to it to get for me. I saw it, but it wasn’t obvious what it was straight away.

We opened the bottle back at my Grandma’s caravan, and my family and I were touched to see that someone had put loads of effort into making someone else feel happy!  The bottle is on my mantlepiece at home, and it gives me happy memories of my holidays.
Thank you for the great gift, and I was excited to find it!
This email that reached me two days ago (well, in fact it is two messages which I put together here). I am delighted to hear that another bottle has found a happy new owner.
The bottle has been floating for three or four days it seems, back and forth with the tide, and was found on the same beach quite close to where it was dispatched.
Message in a Bottle No. 61

No. 61 still at home

Vor zwei Tagen hat mich (in etwa) die folgende Email erreicht

Hallo,
ich bin ein 12 Jahre alter Junge aus Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Ich habe die Flaschenpost No. 61 am 3. August im Meer schwimmend bei Mablethorpe gefunden, in der Nähe der Seehundaufzuchtstation.

Ich war gerade mit meinem Papa im Wasser, und dachte, dass da etwas interessantes im schwimmt. Ich habe die Flasche gesehen, aber mit war nicht klar, was das sein würde. Ich habe meinen Papa gebeten, es für mich aus dem Wasser zu holen, und so ist er für mich rausgeschwommen.
Wir haben die Flasche mit in den Wohnwagen von meiner Oma genommen und dort aufgemacht. Ich und meine Familie waren sehr berührt davon, dass jemand sich so viel Mühe macht, anderen eine Freude zu machen! Die Flasche steht  auf meinem Kaminsims zu Hause und erinnert mich an meine schönen Ferien.
Ja, also wie du lesen kannst, Flasche nummer 61 ist also gefunden worden. Sie ist anscheinend 3 oder 4 Tage lang im Wasser getrieben und mit den Gezeiten hin- und hergeschwappt. Sie wurde so ziemlich and er gleichen Stelle gefunden, wo sie auch abgeworfen wurde.
Viele meiner Flaschen werden von 11-15 Jahre alten Jungs gefunden: Das sind anscheinend die aufmerksamsten Beobachter.
I heart U 007 kleiner

title page

Bottle number 61 is one of the five sister bottles with title “I (heart) you”. The five miniature books contained are not completely identical, but are all made making use of a couple of stamps which I cut from the erasers at the end of some pencils. – Andn then I also distributed the pencils among the bottles, of course. Additionally the bottle contained a letter explaining a little about the project and giving my contact details.
I showed off images of the bottles after bottle number 60 was found in the Saskatchewan river. I’ll include them here once again – and add one image showing off another of the inside pages as promised.
I heart U 008 kleiner

first spread

Flasche Nummer 61 ist eine von fünf Schwesterflaschen, die alle ein Minibuch mit dem Titel “I (heart) U” enthalten. Die Büchlein sind nicht 100% identisch, aber alle mit den gleichen Stempeln gemacht, die ich in die Radiergummis am Ende von einigen Bleistiften geschnitten habe. – Die habe ich dann natürlich auch auf die Flaschen verteilt.
I heart U 009 kleiner

second spread: “I ❤ U when you feel you have no-one”

Thanks to the finder who has shared his story with me and with us!

Danke nochmal an den Finder, der mich kontaktiert und seine Geschichte mit uns geteilt hat!

Bottle No. 71 found

Message in a Bottle No. 71Das oben ist Flasche nummer 71, noch zu Hause. M. hat sie für mich am Montag vom Strand aus (Westseite) in die East Fleet in Wells-next-the-Sea geworfen. Gestern (Sonntag) wurde sie von zwei Schwestern auf der Ostseite gefunden, laut ihrer Email am “East Hill” aber ich weiß nicht genau, wo das eigentlich ist, oder wie man da eigentlich hinkommt.

Ich vermute, die Flasche muss wohl in diesen Salzwasserströmen dort eine Weile hin und hergeschwommen sein, bevor sie gefunden wurde.

This is bottle number 71, still at home. M. tossed it for me into the East Fleet in Wells-next-the-Sea on Monday, standing at the beach (West side). It was found yesterday (Sunday) on the East side, at East Hill by two sisters from Cambridge who were on a weekend trip in Wells. I am not sure where exactly that is – or how to get there!

I guess the bottle most have travelled up and down the fleet for a while with the tides before it was found.

flaschenpost no 071-01 kleinerThis is a picture taken before sealing the bottle. It contained: the lino print which was also visible from the outside, a shell, a scroll with my usual greeting letter and contact data, and a piece of parchment, where I am rambling about libraries and beaches and how they are so similar.

To my delight the sisters like the print and said they found the experience of finding and opening the bottle very exciting. – Perfect!

Das ist ein Bild vor dem Verschließen der Flasche. Sie enthielt: den Linolschnitt, der auch von außen zu sehen war, eine Muschel, eine Rolle mit meinem üblichen Gruß und Kontaktdaten, und ein Stück Pergament, auf dem ich darüber rede, wie sehr sich Bibliotheken und Strände doch irgendwie ähneln.

Zu meiner Freude, scheinen die beiden Schwestern den Druck zu mögen, und schreiben, dass Finden und Öffnen der Flasche sei sehr aufregend gewesen. – Perfekt!

Bottle No. 60 found

346As you might have figured from the comment on the dispatch post, the bottle set afloat in the South Saskatchewan River was pretty much found immediately after throwing it in. This is from the Email I received the other day:

WOOOOHOOOOO….. Hello from Beautiful, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. I was walking along the River today & this little “genie in a bottle” was floating down stream. We were pretty excited to open it.  […] I am thinking of adding a little note of my own, resealing it & tossing it back in the drink. See where it ends up again. […] Thanks again for making my day.

And on Facebook:

Hi there. I found # 60 in saskatoon Saskatchewan, Canada. Floating down the River. So exciting & fun to open. Thanks a million!

She really made my day with her enthusiasm. While I find it very interesting, how long and where the bottles travel, how they are found and opened, it is not especially important to me that they travel far or for a long time. Bottles put into rivers rarely travel very far. What is more important to me is that the finder enjoys what they found, and this was clearly the case here.

It is interesting, though, that she plans to throw the bottle back in. That will be – to my knowledge – the first bottle that will get thrown in a second time. Let’s hope it will get found again!

Since it will travel on, I won’t reveal too much of its contents here. This is a picture before closing the bottle:

flaschenpost no 060-01

bottle no. 60 before closing it.

Wie du vielleicht aus dem Kommentar auf den Blogpost von gestern schon geschlossen hast: Flasche Nummer 60 ist ziemlich sofort nach ihrem Abwurf schon wieder aus dem Wasser geangelt worden. Das hier ist, übersetzt und ein wenig gekürzt, die Email, die ich bekommen habe:

WOOOOHOOOOO….. Hallo aus Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Ich bin heute am Fluss spazieren gegangen, alsich diesen kleinen “Flaschengeist” im Wasser treiben sah. Wir waren ziemlich begeistert, und gespannt, was darinnen war.  […] Ich überlege, selbst eine kleine Nachricht hinzuzufügen, sie wieder zu verschließen und weiterzuschicken. Mal schauen, wo sie am Ende landet.  […] Vielen Dank, dass du uns einen so schönen Tag beschert hast.

Und dann nochmal auf Facenbook:

Hallo! Ich habe die Nr. 60 in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Canada im Fluss treibend gefunden. Wir waren total begeistert und hatten viel Spaß beim Öffnen. Vielen lieben Dank!

Es war sie, die mir eine Freude gemacht hat mit ihrer Begeisterung! Während ich es zwar interessant finde, wie weit die Fläschchen reisen, und wie sie gefunden werden, ist es mir allerdings nicht so besonders wichtig, dass sie weit kommen oder lange unterwegs sind. Wichtiger ist mir, dass der Finder Spaß bei der Sache hat, und das war hier definitiv der Fall.

Ich finde es interessant, dass sie die Flasche nocheinmal wegwerfen will. Soweit ich weiß, ist es das erste Mal, dass eine Flasche ein zweites Mal abgeworfen wird. Ich hoffe, sie wird nochmal gefunden!