RARE FIND:  A 22-year-old message in a bottle from Turkistan was discovered by beach cleanup volunteers at Double Island Point on the weekend.
RARE FIND: A 22-year-old message in a bottle from Turkistan was discovered by beach cleanup volunteers at Double Island Point on the weekend. MCP Film

Beach clean-up finds 22-year-old message in bottle

BEACH cleanup volunteers at Double Island Pt north of Noosa have made a quirky discovery, collecting a 22-year-old message in a rum bottle with a note from central Asia.

With a message from landlocked Turkistan, a geographic area including parts of several central Asian countries, the rum bottle included a simple message: Turkistan 1997, and an email address.

Ocean Crusaders spokesperson Ian Thomson said a volunteer at Double Island Point made the discovery, which caused "a bit of excitement about the whole place".

"The bottle itself is in good condition, it must have been floating downside and the rest was quite clean," he said.

"It didn't look like it had been in the ocean forever, but you just never know."

The volunteer was one of the longest serving in the beach clean-up, and had sent an email to the bottle's sender in Turkistan (also spelled Turkestan).

"I'd be really curious to find out where this one had originated from - to find out how far things are traveling in the ocean to get to places," Mr Thomson said.

 

HUGE HAUL: A beach clean-up at Double Island Point Conservation Park removed 1.517 tonnes of plastics and other rubbish on the weekend as well as a message in a bottle (inset)
HUGE HAUL: A beach clean-up at Double Island Point Conservation Park removed 1.517 tonnes of plastics and other rubbish on the weekend as well as a message in a bottle (inset) Warwick Gow

 

The weekend clean-up brought together members of conservation groups Surfrider Foundation Sunshine Coast, Clean Water and Ocean Crusaders to collect rubbish at the hugely popular Double Island Point Conservation Park.

About 1.517 tonnes of plastics were collected and Mr Thomson said an area around the lighthouse was particularly dirty when the volunteers set to work, with "tens of thousands of pieces" of plastic.

The unusual volume of plastics at the site could have been from recent storms or even Cyclone Oma in February, Mr Thomson said.

"The south-easterly winds have pushed a lot up there with the storms, and there were significantly more hard plastics there than I've ever seen before," he said.

"To go back there yesterday and see it absolutely clean, it was just fantastic. An outstanding effort."

Surfrider Foundation spokesman Steve James said the message-in-a-bottle was a nice reward for the 350 volunteers involved in the weekend clean-up.

While plastic bottles and heavy rubbish might be "more satisfying" to remove, microplastics are marine life's worst enemy, with turtles and other creatures mistaking them for food, he said.

"All the teeny-tiny microplastics that are floating around can take you an hour to pick up just a quarter of a shopping bag (full)," he said.

"That's where the crew this year was amazing - with all the little plastics. They don't weigh that much, but it's just so important to remove them."

The beach clean-up was supported by Your Mates Brewery, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, and Drop Bear Adventures.



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