Special ‘message in a bottle’ washes up on Tiree!

At the beginning of this week some people onTiree had been alerted to an exciting ‘message in a bottle’ that looked like it was going to be washed up on the shores of Tiree.

We received information from a company in Iceland who were conducting an experiment to track the journey of a ‘bottle’ that had been tossed out of a coast guard helicopter 40 kilometres, southwest of Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland. The two ‘bottles’ contained a GPS tracking device that recorded their year long journey through the ocean, having set off just over a year ago on the 10th of January 2016.

Both bottles have made a remarkable journey over the last year and have travelled over 14,500 km to date. The original prediction, having studied weather and current patterns of the previous year, were that the bottles would have travelled east towards Norway. However, due to the position of the bottles on the ocean surface, it is believed that the prevailing winds controlled the path of the bottles.

The bottles were both equipped with a satellite transmitter that locates and records the position of the bottles via a GPS receiver, being updated every 4 hours. This was then pinned on a live map which can be viewed at the following link: www.gps.verkis.is

The accompanying picture shows the amazing journey the bottles took, traveling west and circling a couple of times through the Irminger Basin, until April of last year, then traveling on to the Cape Farewell, which is the southernmost tip of Greenland. From then on to and throughout summer the bottles were in the Labrador Sea, circling in the fairly peaceful summer weather until they moved towards the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland. In August, the winds started blowing from the north, pushing the bottles southeast towards the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The bottles made a remarkable journey through the Atlantic Ocean onto the coast of Scotland and approaching the most outer Hebrides. Both bottles have travelled hand in hand, with bottle one keeping a steady lead, about 300km ahead of bottle 2, and took a course between the islands off Barra, heading between Mingulay and neighbouring small islands, remarkably not being washed up somewhere here, it continued south west and headed for Tiree.

It was washed up on the north side of the island, at Miodar in Caolas – not far from Sandy and Judith MacIntosh’s house. The last transmitted signal received and recorded on the live map was at 9.19am on Monday morning, just before it was located by Rhoda Meek, who had received information about its arrival from a journalist friend. Rhoda was asked to film her discovery and has since made an excellent video of her experience. You can view the video at the following link: https://youtu.be/ CITF5I6zDDY .

gps_bottle She explains how she didn’t know what exactly it was she was looking for and was slightly surprised by it’s appearance which you can see pictured on the right.

The news of the bottle’s arrival on Tiree has got everyone in Iceland very excited, having been reported on various social media and TV. Rhoda has now packaged the ‘bottle’ up and sent it back to Iceland, who will be closely following the journey of the second bottle to see where it ends up! You can do so too, by following the link included at the top of this article! Wouldn’t it be interesting if it was also to land on Tiree! We will follow this up in the next edition!

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