Scottish fisherman Andrew Leaper found the letter in his nets while sailing off of Scotland’s northern coast. And on Thursday, Guinness World Records confirmed that is the old message in a bottle ever found, beating the previous record holder by five years.
“As we hauled in the nets I spotted the bottle neck sticking out and I quickly grabbed it before it fell back in the sea,” Leaper, 43, told the BBC. “It was very exciting to find the bottle and I couldn’t wait to open it.”
Amazingly, the previous record holder was found by the same boat, the Shetland-based “Copious.”
“We are pleased to hear that the same vessel helped to break the Guinness World Record for oldest message in a bottle twice,” said a spokesperson for Guinness World Records. “This is a fascinating record, both historically and scientifically.
In 1914, Scottish Captain C.H. Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation released 1,890 bottles as part of a government experiment to map the undercurrents of the seas around Scotland. Each bottle contained a postcard asking the finder to record details of where the bottle was located. The letter also promises a reward of sixpence, which the AP notes no longer exists.
“It was an amazing coincidence,” Leaper said of being on the same boat that broke both records. “It’s like winning the lottery twice.”
And it’s entirely possible that the record could be broken on another voyage, as only 350 of the original bottles have been discovered.