A 57-year-old bottled message is washed on the Texas coast




A message contained in a bottle deposited in the Gulf of Mexico by a Galveston laboratory was discovered by a couple from Corpus Christi, Texas in January, 57 years after it was launched.

Candy and Jim Duke discovered the artifact on Padre Island's national coastline.


"My husband and I go there almost every Saturday morning, we get there before sunrise to take pictures, and then we go to the beach looking for treasure," Duke told Chron .com. "It's there that we found the bottle, towards the marker 22"

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At first glance, the Dukes were not sure that the clear glass container was a valuable addition to their collection of bottles.

"This one was not colorful … my husband almost did not take it," she said. "But I told him to pick it up anyway."


After inspecting the bottle, the Dukes realized that their find was perhaps something special. "My husband looked at it and said: 'There is something here,'" said Candy Duke.

In fact, the bottle, with a message inside, was part of a "drift study" conducted in 1962 by the Galveston Laboratory of the US Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, now known as the Service. National Marine Fisheries Program (NOAA). The research aimed to determine the direction and flow of surface water in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

"The study was done at the beginning of the management of the shrimp, it was aimed at determining where live adult shrimp, off the coast, and where live the juvenile shrimp, at the coast." The idea was that, if you examine surface currents, you can connect both, "said NOAA. The acting lab director, Matthew Johnson, told Chron.com.

Scientists dropped about 1,796 cylinders in the western half of the Gulf of Mexico over several days between 1962 and 1963, according to NOAA, which is currently striving to recover more records from the US. study of drift in an outdoor storage facility. .

"After the hurricane, we transferred the records to D.C.," said Johnson. "But in May 1962, we think this bottle was thrown away."

"Someone mentioned that the last bottle found dates back to 2000, but we have not yet been able to confirm it," he added.

And the message inside? Each bottle contained a bright red orange card that said:

"These releases are part of a study to determine the role of water currents in the movement of young shrimp from the spawning grounds to coastal nurseries." The person who finds this bottle must complete the map. mail and mail it at the earliest opportunity.A reward of fifty cents will be sent for each completed return. "


Not wanting to break the bottle to get the message across, the Dukes brought the relic home and posted a video on Facebook explaining how they managed to pop the cork and slide the map.

In accordance with instructions, they sent the map to Galveston Lab. "I told them not to send us the 50 cents," said Candy Duke. Before returning it, however, she took a picture to keep as a souvenir. "I want to make a shadow box with the bottle and the picture to hang in our house."

At NOAA in Galveston, the map landed in the hands of Johnson, who has been in contact with the Dukes many times since. "We talked about it and they sent me reports on the results," said Candy Duke.

Today, drift studies by NOAA are rare. "With the development of satellite technology, we are doing more studies on bottles," Johnson said.

Current projects at NOAA include research on turtle rearing. "It's for replenishment efforts – we're going to Mexico or Florida to collect eggs, grow them and raise them, and then release them into the environment," Johnson said. "We give them a good start."

NOAA is located at 4700 Avenue U, Galveston, Texas, on the former US Army Fort Crockett site.

Marcy de Luna is a digital journalist specializing in social media, the famous and food. You can follow her on Twitter @MarcydeLuna and Facebook @MarcydeLuna. Read his stories on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and on our subscriber site, HoustonChronicle.com. | [email protected] | Send CHRONIQUE to 77453 to receive the latest SMS alerts


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