ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU/Gray News) - Russian media tracked down the man who said he tossed the bottle into the sea that was found some 60 years later and 2,000 miles away on the coast of Alaska, KTUU reported.
Tyler Ivanoff found the bottle in Shishmaref, Alaska, on Aug. 5.
“I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff says. ”When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out,” KTUU reported.
Ivanoff posted the message on Facebook, and it was soon translated into English: “A heartfelt hello from the Russian far-eastern fleet of Vladivostok. Greetings to you. Whoever finds this bottle is asked to inform this address: city of Vladivostok - 43 ВДХФ п/б Сулак. Attention all hands, I wish everyone good health, longevity, and happy sailing June 20th, 1959.”
While that could have been the end of the story, the Russian state television got wind of it and visited the address listed on the bottle in Vladivostok, relatively close to Shishmaref by sea. But the woman answering the door said that the man they were looking for hadn’t been there for 45 years.
The Rossiya 1 reporter tracked down the message writer, who is former ship captain in Sevastopol, a tropical city on the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea. The town is essentially on the other side of the world from Shishmaref, and sits in a time zone that is 11 hours ahead of Alaska.
Video from Rossiya 1 showed the captain, Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, who at the time the message was written was 36 years old, reading through the letter. At first, he was doubtful whether it was truly his writing, but he stopped when he sees the signature at the bottom.
“There - exactly!” he exclaimed, looking at the bottom a copy of the note shown by the reporter on a smartphone.
Botsanenko shed a few tears on hearing that the ship he captained, the Sulak, was sold for scrap metal in the 90s.
He showed souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles that he kept as keepsakes despite his wife’s protests.
The Russian reporters end by tossing another message in a bottle out to sea to continue the tradition.