Queensland Police

Qld police find messages in a bottle, track down sailors

AFTER floating 14,000kms over two years, five messages in a bottle have been discovered by police on a remote beach in Far North Queensland.

And now police have found the sailors.

The five messages, in French and English, were written by a group of friends on a sailing adventure near the Galapagos Islands, 973km off the west coast of South America.

They released the bottle into the South Pacific Ocean in 2014.

For two years it journeyed towards the North Queensland Coast, surviving the Great Barrier Reef, countless island and sand cays before washing up on the remote Cape York Beach.

Three police officers from Bamaga Police Station, Australia's northern most mainland police station, found the bottle while exploring Ussher Point on their days off.

Sergeant Suzie MacDonald, Acting Senior Constable Talina O'Brien and Senior Constable Nicole then contacted the five sailors via email.

The ‘Vivo’ crew right before the bottle release in 2014. From left; Mike Roberts (Captain), Iris Jeusel, Kyle Coopman, Merc and Bob Cave.
The ‘Vivo’ crew right before the bottle release in 2014. From left; Mike Roberts (Captain), Iris Jeusel, Kyle Coopman, Merc and Bob Cave. Queensland Police

Iris Jeusel, a 26-year-old woman from France, was the first to reply.

"I just woke up in France this morning and read your email, I'm so happy and excited, it's incredible.

"Mike was our captain and owner of the boat (Vivo). Mike was looking for a crew to cross the Pacific Ocean so I joined them as a crew member. After travelling on Vivo I returned back to France where I started working as a social worker for the government," Ms Jeusel wrote.

"I see you found our message, that bottle made quite a trip!" wrote Vivo captain, Michael Roberts from the U.S.

"We sent it (the bottle) on its way at the midpoint between the Galapagos and the Marquises Islands, amazing that is not only survived but that the notes are still legible."

"This is just short of a miracle," wrote Kyle Koopman from the U.S.

"I received your email late last night and after reading it I couldn't sleep because my mind was racing. I woke this morning to find numerous messages from Iris asking if I had seen the email. Straight away I sent a text message to Mike asking if he had received any surprising news in the past 12 hours. He said he hadn't and was rightfully confused following my text message.

"I told Mike that I was on my way down to the marina with something for him to read, something that was going to astound him. I took my camera down to film his reaction, he was as shocked and excited as I was," Mr Koopman wrote.

The sailors also provided footage of the moment the bottle was released.


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