Hunt for Scots author of message in a bottle sent 46 years ago

A US writer who acts a 'go-between' to reunite people who find messages in a bottle with whoever finds them in the sea has asked for help to solve a mystery which stretches back decades to Edinburgh.

Bernd Igwerks found the bottle on Norderney island, Germany. Picture: Contributed

Clint Buffington who writes the ‘ Message in a Bottle Hunter’ blog wants to track down ‘Donkeyman’ James Robertson who launched a hand-written message into the sea in 1970.

The bottle was found last week by pensioner Bernd Igwerks on Norderney, one of the tiny East Frisian islands off located off Germany’s North Sea coast.

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The message written a piece of paper which is now discoloured with age reads ‘This bottle was thrown over by “Donkeyman” James Robertson, 42, Sleigh Drive, Edinburgh on 16-9-70’.

The original "donkeyman" note. Picture: Contributed

The bottle is from JAS Dunbar, a soft drinks company whose factory was located in Albion Road in the city.

‘Donkeyman’ is the terminology for someone who maintains ship engines leading to possibility that Mr Robertson threw the bottle overboard while working on a ship in the North Sea.

Mr Buffington, 32, from Utah, who found over 80 messages in bottles after discovering his first one containing two one-dollar bills while on holiday in the Caribbean shortly after graduating from university, said: “I saw a small story in a German newspaper with a photo of the guy who found the Edinburgh bottle and my mission now is to reunite them.

“‘Donkeyman’ is quite an unusual description, which made me wonder if it was a nickname, if so, I think people would know who he was.

The original "donkeyman" note. Picture: Contributed

“I’ve been looking quite closely at the handwriting, and having seen so many messages I think the address is definitely 42 Sleigh Drive, though at first I wondered if it was a ‘7’.

“I don’t tend to study ocean tides but the North Sea sorts of circulates amongst itself quite a bit, so is fairly self-contained, which makes me think this particular bottle didn’t travel too far from home.”

Mr Buffington added: “When I started my blog I’d never heard of the Police song ‘Message in a Bottle’ or the book with the same title by Nicholas Sparks. But over the years I’ve become the ‘go to’ person, and it is wonderful, so full of random experiences.

“One of the most unusal messages I’ve read was from Ed and Carol Myers, a couple who sent out a message on their first wedding anniversary on St Valentine’s Day. There was some smudgy stuff along with it which was actually a bit of their wedding cake.

You can follow the Message in a Bottle Hunter on Facebook.