A message has been found in a bottle released 37 years ago by Japanese high school students – some 6,000 kilometers (3,700 mi) away in Hawaii.
Members of a natural science club at Choshi High School in Chiba, east of Tokyo, released 750 bottles into the ocean between 1984 and 1985 to investigate ocean currents.
The bottles – which contained messages in English, Japanese and Portuguese asking the finder to contact the sender – have been washed in such far-flung places as the Philippines, Canada and Alaska.
But none had been found since the 50th bottle was discovered in Japan’s southwestern Kagoshima prefecture in 2002.
The 51st bottle was discovered by a nine-year-old girl on a Hawaiian beach in June, the school announced, with postcard-sized messages still largely legible.
“I was really surprised,” the school’s vice principal Jun Hayashi told AFP on Friday.
“The 50th bottle was found 19 years ago, so I thought it was over. I didn’t think there would be any more – I thought they were all sunk.
“It’s really exciting that the 51st has been found.”
Hayashi is “hoping someone will find the 52nd now”.
The club that issued the bottles ended in 2007.
But the school said two student representatives plan to send a letter and a miniature flag to the discoverer, who was named by the Hawaii Tribune Herald newspaper as Abby Graham.
Mayumi Kondo, a member of the Natural Science Club in 1984, said that the discovery “revived nostalgic memories” of her school days.
“Thirty-seven years is a long time for man, but on the other hand, it really takes home how big and mysterious the earth and nature really are,” she said.
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