27 October 2023

Message in a bottle makes it from Tasman Sea to Cape York

| Sarah Martin
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The message in a bottle

The message in a bottle has been installed in Mr Jacobsen’s family museum. Photo: Supplied.

While bottles washed up on the beach are a common sight, Victorian tourist Glenn Swaik was amazed to find one with a message inside on a remote Cape York beach.

Mr Swaik was travelling with a four-wheel-drive tour group on a bucket list trip to the tip when he found the missive, as recounted by fellow traveller Greg Jacobsen.

“We camped at a beautiful beach at Captain Billy’s Landing on our return trip,” Mr Jacobsen said.

“The beach was spectacular but was littered with a host of marine debris – lo and behold, Glenn found a message in a bottle amongst a lot of sea litter.”

Mr Jasobsen said the group of 11 travellers and their tour guides gathered round at dinner that night to read the message, written on an A5 sheet of paper, and were excited to find the writer lived in Brisbane.

Wendy Smith and her two daughters were cruising about halfway between Australia and New Zealand aboard the Coral Princess in January when they each launched a wine bottle with a message.

Wendy holding the bottle with the message in

Brisbane traveller Wendy threw her message overboard in the Tasman Sea on her journey between New Zealand and Australia in January. Photo: Supplied.

Mr Jacobsen said the bottle’s finder wasn’t interested in keeping the bottle, which was rapidly becoming a smelly mess as the live barnacles on the outside rotted.

“Knowing that I was a collector of ‘stuff’, the bottle was offered to me and once home I aired it out and made a silky oak rack and case, and reattached a few of the barnacles to give it some authenticity,” Mr Jacobsen said.

The note initially travelled back to Melbourne with Glenn and Wilma Swaik, but has now been returned to the bottle, which remains in Mr Jacobsen’s small museum of curios.

“Glenn, Wilma and I have been in regular contact with Wendy in Brisbane,” Mr Jacobsen said.

“The ironic thing is, we picked up a leaflet in Coen saying they were doing a beach cleanup at Captain Billy’s Landing the very next day.”

Mr Jacobsen and Wendy are now planning to meet up in Brisbane for a chat.

“I wonder how many messages in a bottle ever get recovered,” Mr Jacobsen said.

“This is one fantastic story that has brought some great people together.”

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