“A year has passed since I wrote my note,” Sting once sang – but a year was not too long a time for a message in a bottle sent adrift by Russian sailors three years ago and recently uncovered by an Australian diver.
In 2009 a yacht manned by a Russian crew led by the famous adventurer Fyodor Konyukhov, set sail for a world tour.
This involved sailing in a yacht called “Scarlet Sails” from New Zealand to Europe via Cape Horn, the Falkland Islands and Antigua all the way up to the British port of Falmouth.
Starting out from Auckland in January, the crew managed to reach Cape Horn by February 12. Cape Horn, the southernmost headland of Tierra del Fuego in Chile, was a major landmark for sailing ships on the clipper route before the advent of steam boats and the construction of the Suez and Panama canals, but was notorious as a graveyard of sailors owing to the strong winds, huge waves and icebergs in its vicinity.
The crew decided to celebrate passing such a notable and dangerous hazard by opening a bottle of Australian-made champagne.
Mikhail Yelsin, a university teacher from the Siberian city of Khabarovsk, came up with the idea of a message about the trip, stuck it into the empty bottle and threw it overboard, according to Oskar Konyukhov, son of the yacht’s captain Fyodor Konyukhov.
Yelsin was the one who wrote the text of the message, which included three e-mail addresses: his own, Oskar Konyukhov’s and that of another crew member.