From China with love: How Mandarin message in a bottle wound up on a Scottish beach 5,000 miles away
Posted on August 30, 2012, Thursday
A ROMANTIC message-in-a-bottle discovered by a mother and daughter at a Scottish beach has sparked a mystery about whether it could have travelled 5,000 miles across the seas from China, the Daily Mail reports.
Nicola MacFarlane, 41, and daughter Lucy, four, from Portobello, near Edinburgh, were scouring Portobello Beach when they came across an old glass bottle sticking out of the sand containing a note inside written in Mandarin.
Now the family is trying to work out if the letter has managed the extraordinary journey across the Philippine Sea, into the Indian Ocean and through both the South Atlantic and the North Atlantic Ocean’s before washing up on the shores of Great Britain.
It is unclear when the letter was sent off, as it was written on Chinese Valentine’s Day, or Qixi Festival as it is more traditionally known, which falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.
While the letter bears the date in line with the lunar calendar – July 7, 2012 – it could have been sent off as recently as six days ago if it followed the modern calendar, which celebrated the occasion on August 23.
Whether the message has travelled thousands of miles from China or whether it was penned by a love-struck pair much closer to home remains a mystery.
But for Nicola it doesn’t matter – she was still excited to read about the Chinese love story after having it translated.
She said: ‘I really do hope that it is from China but even it is from nearer to home, it’s still a lovely gesture and an inspiring find. It’s a love story regardless of where it came from.’
Nicola, who runs a beach art business in Portobello, added: ‘I’m always at the beach looking for bits of driftwood but I’ve never come across anything like this before…
‘We saw the bottle sticking out of the sand and just thought it was junk that someone had left behind.
‘But after picking it up I noticed there was a piece of brown paper rolled up inside and there was some foreign writing on it.
‘We quite excitedly took it home and carefully uncorked the bottle and took out the sheet of paper using some tweezers.
‘We knew it was Chinese, but we had no idea what it said.’
Unable to read the Mandarin text, Nicola turned to the internet and her Australian friend, Julie Gould, whose daughter attended a Chinese school in Sydney.
Several hours later Julie returned with the news that it was in fact a love letter.
The translated letter reads: ‘Da Hai: Ocean, I hope no-one will get this bottle, as we just wish you can hear our voice, and get your blessing.
‘Today is the Chinese Valentine’s Day, we pray that our relationship will last forever and we will have a long happy life together.’
Nicola said: ‘It sounds to me like the couple are in love but cannot be together so they have sent the message to tell the world of their love.
‘I’m blown away by it to be honest – it’s incredible that it has travelled all this way.’
In May 2008, a message in a bottle turned up on a Hebridean beach after completing a 4000-mile sea journey from the Bahamas.
The bottle was cast afloat on June 26, 2006, by American holidaymaker Crista Ryan and found by Alec MacLean on Crossapol Beach, Tiree.
In August 2008, Donald Wylie was reunited with a message in a bottle he launched into the sea from Orkney aged 11 in 1985. It was found at St Andrews.