Taiwanese found a letter in the bottle sent by the employee of the Museum of the World Ocean 25 years ago


Perhaps, the Museum of the World Ocean has not experienced such a jubilee before. This is not about the pandemia which divided the museum’s life into “before” and “after”. This is about our friends, partners and just wonderful events happened in the first half of the rough year. In this period, our collection was enlarged with new art, numismatics, decorations and marine library donated to the museum. One more time it has been proven how important friends are as well as their support. Probably, the museum got its greatest surprise from far-away Taiwan. That’s where the letter was received telling a bottle with two messages from the Museum of the World Ocean was found near Orchid Island in August last year.

Incredible but true, the bottle thrown by the former chief curator Irina Boikina (present research officer of the museum) has floated for 25 years. Boikina took part in the circumnavigation on board the barque Krusenstern in 1995-1996. She organized a campaign “A letter in a bottle” during the expedition and threw bottles with messages letting them float and drift in the seas and oceans. The total number of bottles was 175, 12 of them were found in the next several years right after the expedition. The first bottle was discovered near Cabo Verde when Irina was still at the expedition. The last bottle but now not least anymore was spotted on the shore of Matagorda Island in theTexas Gulf – bottle 154 thrown in July 1996 had travelled in the ocean for two years.

In 1995 to 1998, the museum messages were found in different corners of the world: from Brazil to Australia, from South Africa to the Netherlands. The most intriguing story is about bottle 172. It started travelling in Portugal on the day of the 300th anniversary of the Russian Navy. It successfully passed the Bay of Biscay and Gibraltar. The current washed it to the coastline of Tunis. Not very far, but probably there would not have been such a reaction to this event, if not the city in Tunisia where the bottle arrived. This is Bizerte. This city in North Africa is related to the hardest moment in fate of the Navy. And museum workers considered it symbolic that the message sent on Russian Navy Day finished its journey in the city where in 1920-1924 a tactical unit of the Imperial naval auxiliary vessels was formed as well as mobilized steamers that evacuated from Crimea military personnel (the Imperial Russian Army of Commander-in-Chief Pyotr Wrangel) and civilians who refused the Bolshevism.

And now, after 25 years, the museum got a reply to the message sent from Krusenstern. And it is mysticism again. The letter from Mr Jia-Cing Huang was received on the museum’s 30th anniversary. He found the bottle during a sloop race, by the way. But the most important, this year Krusenstern has finished its regular circumnavigation while the museum employees are sailing round the world on another tall ship Sedov. By the way, the intriguing find was lucky – Jia-Cing Huang’s team won the race. He emailed the museum and attached a video and photographs of the message inside an umcommon glass envelope.

Now the museum staff are to investigate where the bottle has been, identify its number and throwing location. Let’s keep the fingers crossed to get the answer as soon as possible.

   mkrf smedia