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German message in bottle takes 19 years to land here

April 10th, 2020 5:50 PM

By Southern Star Team

The bottle was spotted on the shore by Clare Heardman.

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By Helen Riddell

A MESSAGE in a bottle, believed to have come from Germany, has washed up on the shores of the Beara Peninsula, 19 years after it was launched into the sea.

Clare Heardman, a conservation ranger for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, based at Glengarriff Nature Reserve, was walking near Pulleen harbour on the Beara peninsula just over a week ago, when she came across the bottle.

‘It had washed up on the strand and caught my eye as I could see there was a piece of paper inside it,’ she remembered.

The paper was slightly damp when she retrieved it from the bottle, but the date and parts of the message were clear.  However, part of the contact email address had faded and so it was hard to decipher. The message reads: ‘Hello Fellow 04/05/01. Greetings from Germany to the seaman who found this bottle! Send a message to …’

The name Michael can be made out, but the rest of the email address is unclear.

While she was unable to make out the full email address, Clare noted it had a prefix of ‘gmx’.   

‘I put a picture of the message on Twitter and various people who contacted me said that prefix is from a German internet provider,’ she explained. She was also contacted via Twitter by someone from a German Seamen’s Mission who have offered to publicise the message in a bid to locate the sender.

The message was dated May 2001, which means it has been in the sea for almost 19 years.  ‘It just goes to prove,’ says Clare, ‘how long plastic stays in the ocean, one plastic bottle can take up to 430 years to break down.’

Anyone who has any further information on the message can contact the Southern Star at [email protected]

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