The Police’s ‘Message in a bottle’

Is someone sending out an SOS? Bamaga police find a message in a bottle.

Is someone sending out an SOS? Bamaga police find a message in a bottle

No we are not talking about a popular song released in 1979, but an actual message in a bottle found by the police on a remote beach in the Far Northern Cape of Queensland.

Located some 960kms north of Cairns, Bamaga Police Station is Australia’s northern most mainland police station. Blessed with a few days off, Bamaga police officers, Sergeant Suzie MacDonald, Acting Senior Constable Talina O’Brien and Senior Constable Nicole Barnes decided to explore their magnificent police division after they were given a few hot tips about some secret spots on the East Coast.

With their 4wd packed, they set off on their three hour journey to Ussher Point. The unspoiled beach was a sight to behold, not another person or vehicle in sight, not a single footprint or tyre track to be seen.

What a location to pick up someone’s message in a bottle

The vehicle was left behind as the trio set off on foot along the majestic beach inspecting the washed up treasures that had made their way by sea to the remote location.

Police officers Suzie and Talina stumble across a piece of history from WWII

They discovered everything from old boat hulls, beautiful nautilus shells to a surf board. They also stumbled upon the remnants of the P-39 Airacobra that had crash-landed back in WW11 in May 1942. The Airacobra crash in Cape York is a story in itself, for more on that slice of history click HERE.

Sergeant MacDonald had walked past several glass bottles that had washed up on shore before one particular bottle caught her eye. With great excitement the trio cheered as they had found their first message in a bottle, a treasure that they had talked about finding their whole lives.

The precious bottle was carefully opened the following day back at Bamaga as a group of excited colleagues looked on. Sergeant MacDonald was given the delicate task of removing the cork and extracting five pieces of paper from inside the bottle.

Eager colleagues wait patiently to see how many years had passed since someone wrote these notes

One in a hundred million bottles that had washed upon the shore (Sorry, another cheeky line from the song)

Written in French and English, the five pieces of sun-bleached paper had a story to tell.

In 2014 a group of friends on a sailing adventure near the Galapagos Islands (973km off the west coast of South American) scribed the five notes and placed them in a bottle before releasing it into the South Pacific Ocean.

Over two years, the bottle journeyed towards the North Queensland Coast surviving the Great Barrier Reef, countless island and sand cays before washing up on the remote Cape York Beach.

Map 2

Over a period of two years, the bottle travelled over 14,000 kms before coming to rest on the remote stretch of Queensland coastline.

We can only hope that news of the chance discovery brings as much delight to the French sailors as it did to our Bamaga Police officers.

Thanks for the great story Suzie, Talina and Nicole, this will be a great BBQ tale for many years to come!

What a place for beach combing! Sergeant MacDonald and Senior Constable Barnes explore the east coast of Cape York

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