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Greek Sailor’s Message in a Bottle Discovered on New Zealand Beach

Greek message in a bottle
A Greek sailor’s message in a bottle was recently found on a beach in New Zealand,  halfway across the world. Credit: Šarūnas Burdulis /Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

A message in a bottle from a Greek sailor, which was released into the ocean more than a year ago, was found washed up on Ninety Mile Beach in New Zealand last week after having traveled hundreds of miles.

Ken Ferguson, a local fisherman, picked up the bottle in order to avoid it breaking into shards and hurting someone — and was astonished to find a message inside it.

Greek message in a bottle

When Ferguson returned home after his jaunt to the beach, he went to recycle what he assumed was just another wine bottle someone had carelessly left on the strand. Instead, he discovered he had made a very rare find, pickling up a bottle with a message inside it. Upon further investigation, he discovered the bottle, which was in remarkably good condition, contained a business card.

The business card had the title “Captain John Karavolos, Master Mariner” and even the phone number and email of the man who had cast it into the sea.

Greek message in a bottle
The business card of Captain Karavolos, lodged inside a wine bottle found in New Zealand. Credit: New Zealand Herald / Peter Jackson

Ferguson called the number on the card but the woman who answered spoke only Greek. She laughed when he said the name Karavolos, so it was clear he had reached the correct person, but they could not communicate further due to the language barrier.

Instead of giving up, however, Ferguson then attempted contact through using the email address on the card. He then got a response from Captain Karavolos himself a few days later, in English.

The Greek captain remembered his message in a bottle and believes he had tossed it overboard about one year ago on a voyage between Australia and China. He placed his business card into the bottle before sealing it, just using the wine bottle’s own cork, which protected the contents perfectly as it bobbed on the waves.

Karavolos thinks that he may have written the date and location of when he threw the bottle into the sea on the back of the card. However, it is very faint now and cannot be made out through the bottle.

Bottle given to Awanui school

The Greek sailor’s message is now being appreciated by New Zealand youngsters, as Ferguson made the decision to donate his find to the nearby Awanui school.

The students of the school were understandably very excited by their new acquisition, and the school’s principal, Margy Stratton said of the incident:

“You could just tell by their voices and faces that they thought this was something exciting that they could learn from.”

The students have become very interested in the bottle and how it may have reached New Zealand. Upon hearing the news that Karavolos may have written more information about where and when the bottle was released on the business card, it was decided that the students of the Awanui school would open the bottle soon.

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