By James T. Carlton (Emeritus)
Carlton is a Professor Emeritus of Marine Sciences and Director Emeritus of Williams-Mystic (Curriculum Vitae)
In September 2010, the Williams-Mystic class prepared messages-in-glass bottles on the Cramer to be set free in the Gulf of Maine as part of a large-scale drift experiment. However, the Cramer was never far enough offshore to release the bottles during the trip. Captain Sean Bercaw released F10’s bottles a few weeks later on October 6 when bringing Cramer down from Rockland ME to Woods Hole, in the middle of the Gulf during storm force winds and in 18-20 foot seas – enough ocean energy to send the bottles packing into the open North Atlantic.
On March 18, 2022, almost 11 ½ years later, British physician Dr. Ryan Watkins, on a visit to Windermere Island, Eleuthera, in the Bahamas, found F10 Nicola Klee’s bottle on the beach. Dr. Ryan kindly sent us (and Nicola) a picture of the bottle and her message. We’ve prepared a snapshot of the bottle to highlight that there were still living oceanic goose barnacles Lepas on the bottle, which tells us that the bottle had washed ashore perhaps a few hours before.
Where had Nicola’s bottle been all these years?
Well, if you reach over and grab your copy of the Williams-Mystic 25th Anniversary Book, and open to page 47 – we’ll give you a second – you’ll get a good sense of the journey that the bottle took, and for how long.
Bottles that were released in October 1984 by F84, off the coast of New England, landed in the Azores, Europe, Bermuda, and multiple times in the Bahamas until September 1991(Jim tells us that a few more F84 bottles were reported in subsequent years). The pattern of their discovery revealed that some bottles had gone around the North Atlantic Ocean perhaps as many as four or five times before landing!
We think Nicola’s bottle has been bobbing around and around … and around … the North Atlantic Ocean at least a few times – and the barnacles confirm it was recently out on the high seas. Finally, enough was enough, and the bottle followed its predecessors ashore in the Caribbean!