Ocean swimmer Scott Gutterson says he's pulled many things from the ocean, but none compete with the message in a bottle he spotted last week in Jervis Bay.
The 49-year-old was mindlessly swimming away when he spotted an object bobbing along the water ahead of him, 100 metres or so from the beach.
"What I thought was a log turned into a bottle, which turned into a message in a bottle," the Gerringong resident told Yahoo News about the moment he discovered the object.
He said it was a pleasant change "compared to all the rubbish" he usually finds in his local waterways. He was eager to include his family in the discovery experience, waiting patiently for over eight hours to reveal the hidden message around the table with his wife and two children.
The family played a guessing game, imagining who and where the contents came from, which was now covered in 30 to 40 mussels.
"I honestly didn't know what to expect," Scott said when asked of his expectations, before adding, "but it's like opening a massive Christmas present as a five-year-old!".
Origins of the message in a bottle
The message was from a then 10-year-old Vicky who launched the "treasure" with dad Ted near Newcastle over two year ago.
The handwritten note detailed the young girl's address near Canberra, her birthday and contact details with one clear instruction — "I would like it if you wrote back to me".
After travelling over 300 kilometres and 812 days down the coast of NSW, Vicky's wish became a reality.
Scott announced the good news to the now 12-year-old over his phone's loud speaker and the father-daughter duo were delighted. Both men were also amused by their similar navy backgrounds and ties to Gerringong, with Ted's parents also residing in the area.
"They were like, 'no way!'" Scott said, speaking on their reaction and admitted all involved were a little overwhelmed by the full circle moment. Both families now have set plans to meet during the Easter break and Scott intends to give back the "lovely" letter to its original sender.
"I can't wait," he said, informing Yahoo that despite needing to sadly break the bottle to reveal its contents, he intends to frame the message and include a timeline of its voyage for Vicky as a "special" keepsake.
Upon reflection, Scott believes he was lucky enough to find the discovery due to the years he's spent cleaning up rubbish left in the water.
"The ocean’s given me a little treat for all the stuff I’ve removed," he said.
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