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Russian time capsule buried in North Pole ice turns up 4,000km away in Donegal just two years later

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Sophie Curran and Conor McClory with the Russian time capsule they discovered on the beach at the Bloody Foreland in Gweedore, Co. Donegal. Photo: Joe Dunne

Sophie Curran and Conor McClory with the Russian time capsule they discovered on the beach at the Bloody Foreland in Gweedore, Co. Donegal. Photo: Joe Dunne

Sophie Curran and Conor McClory with the Russian time capsule they discovered on the beach at the Bloody Foreland in Gweedore, Co. Donegal. Photo: Joe Dunne

A Russian time capsule that washed up in Donegal provides a scary warning about climate change, according to the surfer who found it .

Sophie Curran and her friend Conor McClory discovered the capsule while walking along the shoreside of Bloody Foreland in Gweedore.

But it wasn’t immediately obvious what it was.

“It’s a strange looking thing,” Ms Curran said. “We thought it was a bomb or someone’s ashes… we didn’t want to open it.”

Through a friend of her brother, they were able to find out that it was actually a Russian time capsule from 2018. And, of course, once they knew it was safe to open, they were quick to do so.

“There was a whole array of pictures, letters, things from the ship it came from, the itinerary, the menu – they had corks from their wines and everything.”

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The time capsule from a crew of Russians on the '50 years of victory' nuclear icebreaker ship that was exploring the North Pole

The time capsule from a crew of Russians on the '50 years of victory' nuclear icebreaker ship that was exploring the North Pole

The time capsule from a crew of Russians on the '50 years of victory' nuclear icebreaker ship that was exploring the North Pole

Naturally, most of the information was written in Russian, although there were some letters in English. It’s thanks to them that Ms Curran was able to identify one of the passengers who had contributed to the capsule – an Instagram blogger from St Petersburg.

“She let me know that they actually travelled to the 90-degree point of the North Pole,” Ms Curran said. “They got a helicopter there and they put the time capsule in ice.

“So that means that the ice has melted and travelled over 4,000km in two years.”

The blogger, Sveta, was aboard the 50 Years of Victory ship, a nuclear-powered icebreaker which has been used for tourist purposes since 1989. Tickets for the cruise have a starting price of over $30,000.

Ms Curran said that the blogger was shocked to have heard from them, as it was expected that the time capsule would probably stay put for 30 years. One of the only other letters written in English in the capsule expanded on this.

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The time capsule from a crew of Russians on the nuclear ice breaker ship that was exploring the North Pole

The time capsule from a crew of Russians on the nuclear ice breaker ship that was exploring the North Pole

The time capsule from a crew of Russians on the nuclear ice breaker ship that was exploring the North Pole

“Everything around us is covered by ice,” it read. “We think by the time this letter is found there will be no more ice in the Arctic.”

The Gweedore pair are still in contact with Sveta, and have bonded over their mutual love for surfing. But they’re also determined to get the rest of the letters translated.

After posting about their discovery on Facebook, they were put in contact with a professor in Chicago, who is currently in the process of translating everything, along with his class.

The time capsule’s premature discovery is almost like a warning about climate change, with Ms Curran saying that it’s really scary the ice melted so quickly.


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