Alaska Man Finds 50-Year-Old Message in a Bottle—Guess What it Said

Victor Westerkamp
By Victor Westerkamp
August 12, 2019US News
Alaska Man Finds 50-Year-Old Message in a Bottle—Guess What it Said
Message in a bottle from a file photo (Atlantios/Pixabay)

A basketball coach from Alaska found a message in a bottle as he was strolling down the beach while at the Bering Strait.  The bottle was cast away 50 years ago in The Pacific by a Russian fisherman.

“I was just walking and collecting firewood for a small fire and came across the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff told The Moscow Times.

It was August 5, 2019, when the Alaska basketball coach of the year, Ivanoff found the bottle and took it home with him.

“I showed my children the bottle, and they were very excited for me to open it,” he said. “I opened it up, and saw that it was in Russian. They asked me how [Russians] spoke. And I talked a little, like counting to 10 in Russian, and said a small poem that I learned in Russian from when I was in high school. I came home from [our] short boating trip and posted the photos online of the message to see if some friends can translate it.”

“I found a message in a bottle today. Any friends that are Russian translators out there?” Ivanoff reposted the message, but this time through the internet.

The response was overwhelming. Soon his Facebook account was flooded with translations.

“A heartfelt hello,” it said.

“We wish you good health, many years of life and happy sailing,” it continued.
“Whoever finds this bottle, we ask you to tell the entire crew of the ‘Sulak’ in the city of Vladivostok,” it requested.

Sulak was the name of a ship that was part of a fishermen’s fleet operational in the 1960s and 1970s in eastern Soviet Union. The administrative center for the fleet was in the city of Vladivostok. The unit has since long been abrogated.

“We wish you good health, many years of life and happy sailing,” the letter concluded and was dated at the bottom, June 20, 1969.

Some friends suggested Ivanoff try to find and contact the sender, but Ivanoff said, “I’ve been working and berry picking so not much time for research.”

This was the second find of a 50-year-old message in a bottle this year. Last year an even more amazing discovery was done.

Couple in Western Australia finds the oldest known message in a bottle.

Thinking it would “look good on a bookshelf” Tonya Illman picked up an old-looking gin bottle while walking on sand dunes, only to discover a message inside that was 136 years old.

“We took it home and dried it out, and when we opened it we saw it was a printed form, in German, with very faint German handwriting on it.”

NTD Photo
The oldest known message in a bottle discovered at Wedge Island, Western Australia. (

Experts from the Western Australian Museum (pdf) verified that the message and bottle were authentic and jettisoned from a German ship.

Inside the bottle was a roll of paper printed in German, dated June 12, 1886. It’s believed that the bottle and note were washed up within a year but lay preserved under a layer of damp sand.

“Extraordinary finds need extraordinary evidence,” said Dr. Ross Anderson, assistant curator maritime archaeology at the WA Museum.

“Incredibly, an archival search in Germany found Paula’s original meteorological journal and there was an entry for 12 June 1886 made by the captain, recording a drift bottle having been thrown overboard. The date and the coordinates correspond exactly with those on the bottle message,” he said.

Epoch Times reporter Jane Werrell contributed to this report

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