In early April, Scottish skipper Andrew Leaper trapped an old bottle in his fishing net east of Shetland, off the British coast.
Stuffed inside the bottle was a cream-coloured postcard asking the finder to record the location where it was found and then mail it back to the Glasgow School of Navigation. A sixpence was offered in reward.
It had been launched in 1914 just 9.38 nautical miles from where it was found.
Having spent a reported 97 years and 309 days at sea, the message in a bottle is officially the world's oldest, with a Guinness world record to show for it.
The bottle was launched as a part of a scientific study to map sea currents around Scotland. While more than 1,800 bottles were released, only 315 have been found so far. Leaper's friend Mark Anderson found a bottle from the same study in 2006 — from Leaper's boat, the Shetland-based Copious. That bottle had been considered the oldest of its kind until Leaper's recent haul.
"It was an amazing coincidence that the same Shetland fishing boat that found the previous record-breaking bottle six years ago also found this one," Leaper told the UKPA.
"It's like winning the lottery twice — this is a very popular fishing ground, with half the North Sea fleet fishing here. As we hauled in the nets I spotted the bottle neck sticking out and I quickly grabbed it before it fell back in the sea."
"We are pleased to hear that the same vessel helped to break the Guinness World Record for oldest message in a bottle twice," a spokesperson for Guinness World Records said. "This is a fascinating record, both historically and scientifically. We hope that future expeditions will retrieve more of these treasured messages from the sea."
Both the bottle, known as Drift bottle 646B, and Leaper's Guinness World Records certificate have been donated to the Fetlar Interpretive Centre in Shetland.