Message bottle back 2200km later

AS the crow flies – or should that be seagull – Australia is more than 2200 kilometres from Vanuatu.

That's why Caniaba resident Glenda Parker is amazed her message in a bottle made it back to her – even though it took six-and-a-half years.

Holidaying on the Pacific Princess cruise ship with her husband Ross, who had just been diagnosed with heart problems, the couple decided to put a note, a $2 coin and pen inside a bottle and throw it into the ocean off Vanuatu's Mystery Island.

“I often wondered what happened to it after Ross had died and then I got a call while I was at the Lismore Square,” she told The Northern Star this week.

“The person on the other end told me he had my bottle – I just screamed. It had been six-and-a-half years since we threw it off the boat.”

The bottle had washed up on Sandon Beach, near Wooli, and was found by a couple walking on the beach.

“The bottle had been travelling the ocean for more than six years – I'd love to know where it's been,” Mrs Parker said.

Yet as unlikely as it sounds, it's not uncommon for items to ride the ocean's currents from South Pacific islands to Australia's east coast.

“It happens quite often,” Southern Cross University geography professor Bill Boyd said. “It appears to be particularly related to strong storms and sea surges.”

He speculated the bottle probably hitched a ride on the west-travelling southequatorial current that runs through the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

When the bottle reached north-east Australia it met the east Australian current and pushed south.

“When the east Australian current comes close to shore, objects can be washed on to our beaches,” Dr Boyd said.

“With the strong on-shore waves and large storms over the last years, this is more likely to happen than in the past.”

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