A message in a bottle believed to have been thrown into the Atlantic Ocean from the Irish coast 40 years ago has been discovered almost 4,000 kilometres away in Russia.
It is thought that the bottle was used as part of a research programme by oceanographers who were studying ocean tides and drifts around the island of Ireland, long before the usage of GPS tracking.
The finder of the bottle, Dmitry Karchikov, reportedly fished it out of a fjord - a long, deep, narrow body of water that reaches far inland - in the north-west Russian port of Murmansk.
He sent photographs of his discovery in an email to the department of oceanography at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), which doesn’t actually exist anymore.
The correspondence subsequently found its way to the newly named earth and ocean sciences department at the college, where Dr Martin White is a senior lecturer.
“There are two competing theories,” he told the BBC’s Evening Extra programme on Monday.
“The more mundane theory is that it was fished up locally closer to Ireland and taken back to the home port of the fisherman and subsequently discarded there… Or more naturally, the ocean currents that we have very much have the prevailing direction to run along the north-west European margins... and then across to Scandinavia.
“It is quite plausible that this bottle actually drifted that far. You don’t know the time it’s taken to get there because you don’t know if this bottle has gotten there relatively quickly - let’s say a year or so - and has been resting in the seabed thereafter.
“Or it has taken a while, because it’s drifting at the surface, it’s at the behest of the winds which will drive it locally.”
The professor fully believes that the bottle did make its journey to Russia by itself, but adding to the story’s mystery and intrigue, researchers at the university have not been able to track down its details as the serial number appears to have faded over time.
However, the card inside the ‘drifter’ vessel, remains moderately intact.
Dr White said he plans to keep trying to contact Mr Karchikov, whom he has not heard from again in over a week, to ascertain more details and let him know of the intrigue the story has caused.