VIDEO: The crew of Sandown and Shanklin Independent Lifeboat undertook an unique mission last month as part of an emotional rollercoaster after finding a message in a bottle off of the Island’s coastline.
Whilst out on a training exercise back at the end of September, the volunteer crew spotted a floating bottle, just a quarter of a mile off of Luccombe Bay. Normally, the Lifeboat would have just continue passed small debris in the water and head to their destination, but as the Lifeboat was close enough to see the bottle as it passed, the Coxswain spotted something inside the bottle and it intrigued him enough to turn the Lifeboat around to investigate.
Placing the Lifeboat closer and confirmed that there was an object inside the bottle. Requesting one of the crew members to recover the bottle, the Coxswain positioned the Lifeboat and one of the crew members scooped the bottle from the water and passed it to the Coxswain. It was clear that there was in fact something inside, opening the bottle to see what it was, the crew were pleased to see it was a message – a heartfelt memory from a family about a loved one.
After the training exercise was completed, the Lifeboat returned to the station, the Operations Manager was informed of the finding and agreed for the family of Robbie Michael Day to be contacted after reading the message.
Corresponding via email, SSILB received a response from Natasha Day, Robbie’s sister, and the following is what she had replied with:
“Many thanks for replying to the message in a bottle. Reading your e-mail brough me to tears, but in a good way. I am so pleased the Lifeboa turned around to investigate the bottle. It was my mother’s idea to send the bottles out. It has been very hard to lift her spirits and whenever I get a reply I cannot wait to tell her. So far we have reached Germany, France and now of course the Isle of Wight. The bottle you found was sent from Scotland, from Fort William, different versions of the message being sent out from Dorset and Cornwall as well. My little brother was an amazing funny guy and he was taken far too young. He was 35 and he had such a zest for life and having fun. We all iss him greatly. It would be great if you could place the bottle back into the sea. Again many, many thanks for you e-mail, it means an awful lot to us all.
“Many, many thanks again, Natasha Day”
A new message was made by the crew with the same details given in the original message – this was due to some water damage with crew handling the message at sea when it was recovered.
The bottle was taken out to sea on the 20th October, around 1.5 nautical miles South of the Isle of Wight, where the bottle was placed back into the sea to continue its journey with its message inside.
A video of the bottle’s return can be viewed below. Video courtesy of SSILB.