Bottle Overboard story – Message in a Bottle

Bottle Overboard (Message in  a Bottle)–Bottle Found – Bottle Recommitted to the Ocean- 2012

I planned to honour the 100 years since my Scottish Grannie undertook her journey from Guthrie Street,Hamilton,Glasgow, to London and then on to Sydney on the steam ship “Pakeha”. Her journey reflected the bravery of immigrants, by sea, to Australia  at this time in our history .

My Grannie left London on March 12 1912. She was a third class passenger on the “Pakeha “. I have my Grannie’s original ticket and log, which allowed me to decide where I would put a bottle overboard to commemorate her epic journey. She recorded the latitude, longitude, daily distance travelled , weather  conditions for each  day of her journey to Sydney.

Grannie was coming to Sydney to marry my grandfather, Robert Cochrane, who had been here sometime before her – she arrived on April 23 1912 and married on April 24 1912 at the Manse in Balmain, Sydney.

The “Pakeha” stopped once only –in Cape Town April 3 and 4 1912. I decided to settle for the Southern Ocean south of Albany,Western Australia to put my bottle out to sea.

On April 19 2012 Mark,an Albany sailor and his friend, Jenny took me 60 nautical miles out to sea into the mighty Southern Ocean. It was 100 years to the day since my Grannie sailed past Albany, albeit at 44 degrees 27minutes south 123 degrees 2 minutes east .We made it to 36 degrees south – I can only imagine how rough it was for my Grannie at 44 degrees south.

At 10am on April 19 2012,WA time, 100 years to the day my Grannie sailed by Albany, I read the second verse of Robert Burn’s poem‘ My Love is Like a Red Red Rose “.

Anne with Bottle in the Southern Ocean

Anne with Bottle in the Southern Ocean


In a 4 metre swell, with great difficulty,I  threw the bottle with Grannie’s history in it, and my contact details overboard.  I wished my bottle  “God Speed “ Mark had prepared my wine bottle as he prepared his wine bottle 3 years before, when his yacht circumnavigated Cape Horn.

My Grannie’s history was rolled around a pencil; placed inside a sandwich bag

which was sealed and then rolled ; tartan ribbon was placed into the top of the bottle . It was then screwed tight, wrapped in a white plastic bag and then a water proof tape was firmly wrapped around the bottle. It was ready for its journey in the Southern Ocean.

It was a surreal experience being out in the Southern Ocean –albatrosses were flying overhead,the waves were very high energy and one certainly needed a good grip to hold on . It was not an experience for the faint hearted……….

My bottle washed back in at Bremer Bay, 180 miles east of Albany, Western Australia.  Russell, a Perth fisherman , who was on a fishing holiday  at Bremer Bay found it as flotsam on the beach . It had been in the Southern Ocean possibly 32 days.  Russell and Raelene contacted me by email from the caravan park at Bremer Bay to tell me of their find. Raelene emailed me pictures of Bremer Bay –a stunning coastal landscape.




I flew to Perth in late July 2012 to collect my  Fifth Leg bottle.On July 28 2012 at 11.30am I met with Raelene for lunch, and the handover of my bottle in Swan View , Perth .



I informed Mark in Albany,Western Australia that the bottle had been found . He advised me “to recommit it to the ocean, as it belonged there. “

A physical oceanographer and atmospheric researcher at CSIRO in Hobart, contacted me on July 12 2012 to explain why my bottle had washed back in.

He explained that “the Leeuwin current is always trying to reattach to the coast and the East Australian current is trying to leave the coast.” It was further explained that “floating objects travel at the velocity of the current, plus some fraction of wind speed, plus some fraction of the wave height “

The decision was made for me by the oceanographer – Eden,NSW it would be for the recommittal of Grannie’s bottle .

On Sunday morning,September 30 2012 I was up at 5am ready to leave the port of Eden at 5.45 am on “The Connemarra “. Richard , the fishing operator , Paul , the deckhand, and myself made it out to the Continental Shelf – 16 nautical miles out to sea. In the distance, we could see the spray from the humpback whales on their journey south to Antarctica. Albatrosses were flying overhead, as well as the mutton birds from Siberia.

At 8am, at 37 degrees south 180 degrees east,I recommitted Grannie’s bottle.Again , I read the second verse of Robert Burn’s Poem ‘ My Love is Like a Red Red Rose “ Ten minutes later, I  threw over a second bottle into the ocean to commemorate “my Wakefield, Yorkshire , England connections.”

Harold, my free spirited man, whom I knew for 36 years, came from near Wakefield ; my great grandfather, William Field ,was born in Wakefield in 1831 and then to William , my Cavalier  King Charles Spaniel . He died on August 6 2012, and  was named after my great grandfather, William Field.

My 2 bottles are now out in the Pacific Ocean, minus GPS trackers.The journey of the bottles to date has been extraordinary. I await with great interest “the next journey “–who knows when my bottles may be found, and who will find them.

Videos and digital photos were taken of each step of the “journey of the bottles.”  A power point has been produced, which portrays this extraordinary story. I believe that it would be a suitable subject for a short movie/ video  with its elements of  family history , history , adventure, ocean currents, the power and the beauty of the ocean ….

On September 30 2013 my 2 bottles will have been recommitted to the ocean for one year.  I have not heard anything to date, and can only presume that my bottles are continuing to travel safely across the ocean .  Who knows where they might end up ?

 PS: This story features on YouTube under Anne’s Adventure

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