An Alaskan was searching for firewood. He was Tyler Ivanoff from the village of Shishmaref near Anchorage and he discovered a bottle on the shore. The bottle had a plastic cork stopper. He picked it up and saw a piece of paper inside. It was a letter and it was half a century old. There was some message written in Russian. Any person who lives near the seashore dreams of coming across such a bottle containing a message inside. Incidents of this nature have happened in the past and bottles have washed ashore from far-off places. The Alaskan sought the help of the social media to translate the letter, identify the source and understand its contents.

BBC reports that Tyler Ivanoff’s appeal on Facebook produced results. It proved the power of social media because these platforms are a great communication medium. Anyway, the Russian media rose to the occasion and established the identity of its author. He was 86-year-old Captain Anatoly Botsanenko, a Russian sailor.

Background of the letter

Once the story appeared on social media, the Russians got into action because it was in their language. They ferreted out the interesting history of the letter in the bottle. It seems Anatoly Botsanenko wrote it on 20 June 1969.

He was, at the time, aboard a Russian ship. The name of the ship was Sulak. Tyler Ivanoff, the finder, talked about the letter to a section of the media. He said the cork was a tight-fit on the bottle and he had to use his teeth to remove it. The inside of the bottle was dry and there was a smell similar to that of wine or old alcohol.

As for the letter, it was still legible, so he posted a photograph on Facebook.

BBC goes on to add that the ship was the ‘Russian Far East Fleet's mother-ship VRXF Sulak,’ and the finder of the message in the bottle was requested to contact an address in Vladivostok.

Captain Anatoly Botsanenko, the writer was overjoyed when told about the find. He was involved in building the ship Sulak in 1966 and sailed on it until 1970.

Message in the bottle, a Russian tradition

According to the Daily Mail UK, a man from Shishmaref in Alaska found a 50-year-old handwritten message in a green-colored bottle. A Soviet Navy captain had written the letter during the Cold War, put it in a bottle and dropped it in the ocean. The bottle has reached Alaska. Captain Anatoliy Botsanenko was associated in the construction of the ship Sulak and wrote the message once the ship was completed. He then dropped it in the ocean as per a Russian tradition.

The captain now lives in Sevastopol and he received the news about the bottle on the day of his wife's birthday.

She passed away six years back. There could be many more bottles waiting to turn up on some beach with a story of its own. In this connection, the 1999 romantic movie “Message in a bottle” deserves a mention. It starred Kevin Costner, Robin Wright, and Paul Newman