During a cold morning of beachcombing back in March, a rather unusual object was discovered. This was something that is usually associated with stories and tales, but in this instance it held much more scientific value. On the 4th March, Fiona uncovered a message in a bottle washed up on Machir Bay here on Islay. On closer inspection it was evident that this message was of great importance.
Along with a hand written greeting message, the typed information introduced The Drift Bottle Project. It explained that this project was launched in summer 2014 to look at surface circulation in the North Atlantic ocean, in the wider context of global ocean circulation. The project is run by the Students on Ice (SOI) Arctic Expedition and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with involvement from international high school students, world-class scientists, explorers and educators.
On the 17th and 18th of July 2014, a total of 142 bottles packed with personal messages and recording sheet scrolls were dropped into sea on a trip between Canada and Greenland across the Labrador Sea. It is predicted that a typical path of these bottles would travel south to the Grand Banks off of Newfoundland and across to Europe, carried by the North Atlantic Drift as an extension of the Gulf Stream. They are then assumed to reach the coasts of Ireland, the UK, Iceland and Norway.
This was a great find and The Drift Bottle Project has been contacted with the details of our discovery! The Islay Natural History Trust is working on putting together a display to represent our finding where you can find details such as the proposed path our bottle took across the ocean and how fast it got here. Come down and visit to hear more about the project and where other bottles have been found - although many more are still presumed to be afloat and awaiting discovery!
If you think you have made a similar discovery and haven't acted on it, don't keep it bottled up - let us know!