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 🙂

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 wasn’t 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!

West Coast / Irish Sea Dispatches Part 3 – North Wales, Llandudno and Rhos-On-Sea

Llandudno Pier

After having dispatched bottles in Chester on Thursday and Liverpool on Friday, it was time for North Wales on Saturday. At the Breakfast table we had still not quite decided where to go. But it was clear that we’d take the A55, and we’d decide on the spot whether to stop in Colwyn Bay or drive on to Llandudno. And since both kids were still patient when we came close to the first, we made it to the latter.

As you can see in the photo above, the beach close to the pier is of sand. Much of the beaches in North Wales are pebbles, and I suppose that there is some sand there, is what makes Llandudno attrative as a seaside resort. This is what a town looks like, when the Victorians think it makes a good Holiday destination:

Llandudno beach as seen from pier

As you can see now, only part of it is sand, the other half is the more characteristic pebbles. I found the non-existing transition between the two startling, and wonder how natural this beach is. However, the co-existence of both is natural in the area between Colwyn Bay and Llandudno.

As you can also guess from the photo, the weather wasn’t brilliant. We spent a bit of time at the beach and in the sand, went for lunch in one of the thousands of pizza-places and then went back to the pier to drop in the bottles. At that time, the skies looked rather threatening:

rain moving in

Well, and so we made this quick. I had been thinking of booking us on a boat ride around the bay, and drop the bottles from there. But the kids were cold, and none of them wanted to go onto the noisy (if you ask me rather exciting) motor boat ride.
High tide was on that day at 13:13, and it was now 13:50 – perfect timing. I simply went to the head of the pier that to drop them off. Below you see a picture of that pier pulled off Wikipedia:

By Gary Beale – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62435137

On the very front was a small plattform reserved for fishing. After brief deliberation I decided against it, and threw in the bottles from the visitor’s part. These are the bottles I brought:

Llandudno bottles just before their dispatch

The two big ones made by peter, the two little ones made by me. They are a little hard to make out here. The smaller one of Peter’s bottles displayes a clearly readable “Do Not Read. Do Not Open” 🙂 The big one with its characteristic red paint should be clearly visible. Mine are the No. 115 “Underground Pool”, and No. 109 “Lone House”.

M. snapped me while throwing in the first bottle

Without much ado, I simply threw them in as far as I managed to and simply one after the other. Then I watched them float out of the bay.

Bottles starting to float away (just below the middle)

I hope you can make them out, floating there. The big red-striped bottle was the first I threw in. As you can see I got a bit more practise as I went. But then, the big one went into the lead:

The big red one catching up and overtaking my two small ones

On our way back to Ellesmere then, we decided to pull out in Collwyn Bay – which looked like nothing, just a long sand beach with no pier, and I didn’t want to drop in a bottle there, it seemed pointless. But we followed the promenade to Rhos-on-Sea, and while there was not really good opportunity there either, I figured I take my chances and left one other bottle:

Bottle dispatched in Rhos-on-Sea

As you can maybe see in the photo the was in a small little harbour. In the next photo maybe you can see it swimming near the stones:

Rhos-bottle floating

As always, I wish all those bottles save travels and pleased and excited finders. – As I am so slow with updating this blog, already two of those 13 west-coast bottles have already been found. More in the next post.