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Bottle Released By Woods Hole Scientist In 1956 Turns Up Off Nova Scotia

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WOODS HOLE (CBS/AP) – A glass bottle released by a Woods Hole oceanographer in 1956 has been found off Nova Scotia.

A Canadian researcher came across the small piece of history while he was out researching on Sable Island.

Canadian Fisheries Biologist Warren Joyce discovered a bottle hidden in the sand that turned out to be part of a research program conducted by Woods Hole nearly 60 years ago.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

The drifter bottle was thrown off of a Woods Hole research vessel in April 1956 as part of a study tracking ocean currents.

It was among thousands dumped in the Atlantic Ocean between 1956 and 1972 as part of a program by oceanographer Dean Bumpus to study surface and bottom currents.

“It’s exciting,” says Dr. Amy Bower, one of the Woods Hole Institute’s leading experts on ocean currents. She says, “it was probably buried on the beach a long time, and not floating around for all those years.”

About 10 percent of the 300,000 drift bottles have been found over the years.

This particular bottle traveled 300 miles over 58 years before Joyce found it.

“It had a message ‘break this bottle’ and I could see through the sandblasted glass that it had come from Woods Hole,” Joyce told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “There was an offer for a $0.50 reward for any return information. So I assumed it was fairly old but I had no idea.”

Joyce compared the discovery to finding buried treasure.

“(It’s) something special, a little bit of history, interesting to find out how long it’s been out there and how far it actually traveled,” he said.

“There’s something romantic about a message in a bottle,” says archivist Dave Sherman, “and each person who finds a bottle can be part of the project. They have the data in their hands.”

Joyce sent the info back to Woods Hole and got an immediate response thanking him for the info.

Despite his insistence in the letter to “Don’t worry about the $0.50 reward,” Joyce says the researchers at Woods Hole made good on the promise.

“I didn’t want the reward, but they said they are sending it to me anyway,” Joyce said, chuckling.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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