A man gathering firewood on the shores of western Alaska found a perfectly pristine 50-year-old message in a bottle from a Cold War Russian sailor.
Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten letter near Shishmaref, about 600 miles northwest of Anchorage.
“I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff said. “When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out.“
Ivanoff shared his discovery on Facebook where Russian speakers translated the message to be a greeting dated June 20, 1969.
“Sincere greetings! From the Russian Far East Fleet mother ship VRXF Sulak.I greet you who finds the bottle and request that you respond to the address Vladivostok -43 BRXF Sulak to the whole crew. We wish you good health and longyears of life and happy sailing. 20 June 1969.”
Reporters from the state-owned Russian media network, Russia-1, tracked down the original writer, Captain Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko.
He was skeptical he wrote the note until he saw his signature on the bottom.
“There ― exactly!” he exclaimed.The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Botsanenko said.
Botsanenko shed tears when the Russian television reporter told him the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.
Botsanenko also showed the reporter some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles, the latter kept over his wife’s protests.
Ivanoff’s discovery of the bottle was first reported by Nome radio station KNOM.