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!