Texas Couple Finds 57-Year-Old Message in a Bottle

Jim and Candy Duke found a bottle in Texas that government scientists had dropped in the water nearly 60 years ago.
Jim and Candy Duke found a bottle in Texas that government scientists had dropped in the water nearly 60 years ago. NOAA

A couple walking on the beach discovered a relic nearly six decades old.

Jim and Candy Duke were walking on the National Seashore near Corpus Christi, Texas, when they found a message in a bottle.

As it turns out, the U.S. government was responsible for tossing it into the water. In The bottle is one of 7,863 that government scientists dropped into the ocean between 1962 and 1963 at the Galveston Laboratory of the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, which is now known as NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries highlighted the Dukes' discovery on its website, and the couple even posted a Facebook Live video as they attempted to open it.

A note could be seen inside the bottle for the finders to break it open. The Dukes instead struggled to open it using a cork screw. Once they finally popped a cork, this message slid out:

"This bottle is one of a series released at known locations in the Gulf of Mexico by scientists from the Galveston Botanical Laboratories of the US Bureaus of Commercial Fisheries. These releases are part of a study to determine the role that water currents play in the movement of young shrimp from offshore spawning grounds to inshore nursery grounds,” the note started.

“The person finding this bottle should complete the enclosed postcard and mail it at the first opportunity. A fifty cent reward will be sent for each completed return. Thank you for your cooperation and interest."

The Dukes followed the instructions and mailed the postcard. It got to Matthew Johnson, acting lab director at NOAA’s Galveston Laboratories.

Johnson said fishermen use the data from the study to set shrimp harvesting quotas.

As for the reward, with inflation, 50 cents 57 years ago is now worth $4.20. Johnson said he offered the Dukes the reward money, although the stamp alone would cost 55 cents and $3 to print the check.

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