28 Sep 2012 12:17 UTCFri 28 Sep 2012 - 12:17 pm UTC
I see this recent story on the web:
Little girl's message in a bottle travels from England to Australia
Five months later the family were amazed when a letter arrived a their home in Tamworth, Staffordshire, which read: "Dear Jasmine, as fate would have it we have been introduced to each other by your message in a bottle". The bottle had been found 10 ...
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Bottle floats from England to Adelaide
Sky News Australia
A little girl's message in a bottle has made it all the way from England to Australia. Four-year-old Jasmine Hudson threw the glass bottle with a short note inside into the English Channel while on holiday with her parents in Bournemouth five months ago.
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Personally, as a former deep sea navigator, I do not believe this really was possible... but maybe someone can convince me that yes indeed a bootle could have made this voyage. I have "mailed" hundreds of bottles into the sea over the years and every response I have had from a Northern Hemisphere launch was from the Northern Hemisphere (eg. From Western Greenland
landing in Ireland in 4 months; from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada ending up in Azores after 2 years).
The media seem to really want to believe this story.
Is it possible?
This should be interesting...
Thank you everyone for researching the possibilities.
28 Sep 2012 12:33 UTCFri 28 Sep 2012 - 12:33 pm UTC
When I write is this possible I mean via sea, by floating randomly. There are stories on the web about people carrying bottles to distant places and then throwing them into the sea to be discovered as if the bottle did indeed travel on its own.
28 Sep 2012 13:06 UTCFri 28 Sep 2012 - 1:06 pm UTC
First things first...I just noticed your earlier note about your recuperation. How are things going? Hope your recovery is speedy and problem-free.
As to your question, you are no doubt concerned about the conservation of potential vorticity...aren't we all?
Why Don’t Ocean Surface Currents Cross the Equator?
Currents can cross the equator, though it doesn't happen frequently, so I suppose the trip is possible. Four months seems fast to me, though.
Is it the speed of the journey that troubles you, the cross-equator direction, switching oceans...what?
By the way, did you know that I'm a (somewhat lapsed) oceanographer? But even so, I never heard of potential vorticity until your question came along.
28 Sep 2012 13:28 UTCFri 28 Sep 2012 - 1:28 pm UTC
Recovery is steady but slow. I was advised this will be many months. Being jolted awake by stabbing pain as the medications wear off in wee hours has precipitated more Uclue activity by me than normal (in recent years). No better time than to attend to all those burning questions :)
Oceanographer eh! Well, well... that is great news.
My concern with this story under discussion in the media has to do with the time and potential vorticity... The only way in my mind that this story is believable by me is if we hear the back story about some kindly soul carrying the bottle found near the UK to Australia.
With respect to surface water movement, as a former oceanographer, under what scenario could this be possible?
Thank you for your interest in my query.
28 Sep 2012 13:58 UTCFri 28 Sep 2012 - 1:58 pm UTC
I haven't done the calculation yet but if we simply look at the purported distance travelled (possible sea route) divided by time elapsed my guess is we are looking at a pretty speedy bottle.
28 Sep 2012 14:17 UTCFri 28 Sep 2012 - 2:17 pm UTC
I don't know if we're going to get you a clear cut answer. Even the experts disagree, although even those who say it's possible also say it's highly unlikely.
This somewhat rambling article has a pretty good discussion and sums up expert opinion:
Message in a Bottle
To my mind, the journey is indeed possible (why wouldn't it be?) but the timing is problematic, as the bottle would have to be moving awfully fast to make such a journey in just a few months. For comparison, the debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan took a year to cross the Pacific, and the bulk of it won't arrive for another year or so:
Japan tsunami debris moves towards US and Canada
It will be interesting to see if anyone (besides you, that is) digs deeper into this current story.
28 Sep 2012 14:35 UTCFri 28 Sep 2012 - 2:35 pm UTC
The tsunami story almost proves the timeline point... and they didn't have a few oceans to cross and a continent to go around.
29 Sep 2012 10:17 UTCSat 29 Sep 2012 - 10:17 am UTC
Here's a similar story. This time six months. An expert has thrown some doubt on the story. See this report on the BBC news website.
"But oceanographer Peter Challenor said it could not have travelled unaided.
"I think it is extremely unlikely," said Mr Challenor, of the National Oceanography Centre, in Southampton.
He said the world's currents would have prevented the bottle getting to Australia.
"It has probably got a lift caught up in a ship and released somehow," said Mr Challenor.
"It could have got into the bilge but even then most ships have filters."
29 Sep 2012 11:08 UTCSat 29 Sep 2012 - 11:08 am UTC
Hi Phil... Good to hear from you again. I appreciate you conducting a search and your subsequent post. This is not time wasted.
4 Jan 2013 14:51 UTCFri 4 Jan 2013 - 2:51 pm UTC
Thanks for the update. I quite enjoy these stories.
And while we're at it...Happy New Year to you.
4 Jan 2013 17:28 UTCFri 4 Jan 2013 - 5:28 pm UTC
Best wishes for a year of good health and happiness to you too. I too find these stories interesting especially when you see the use of one of the oldest methods of long distance communication connecting people in such a positive way in this ultra fast modern age. Somehow low tech messages in bottles still manage to evoke good feelings and appreciative responses regardless of age of sender and recipient.