back to article Antarctic researchers send an SOS to the world: Who wrote this message in a bottle?

An Antarctic research station is asking for help after finding a message in a bottle with an indecipherable email address. The researchers are part of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition based at the country's longest-running research station on Macquarie Island. Back in the summer, three staff were walking …

  1. Chris Fox

    Bouvet DXpeditions

    I believe a number of Polish radio hams have visited Bouvet in recent years. Perhaps the folks at could shed some light on this?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Antarctica is its nearest neighbour and that's 1,639km away. Norway is 12,776km away

    unless he / she was a recluse millionaire, it should hopefully be (reasonably) easy to track them, it's not like Stansted airport on the weekend with half the planet's population in the departure hall...

  3. Come to the Dark Side

    The first part of the address may not be a name. BAS could also be British Antarctic Survey ( who were in the area in the first half of 2015.

    1. MJB7

      "May not be a name"

      Unless the message author got a Polish email address *after* having been selected by BAS (and added it to their name as a distinguisher), I think it unlikely that "bas" refers to them.

      1. Come to the Dark Side

        Re: "May not be a name"

        Possibly, I was thinking more that they may have a polish domain name and use a different prefix for different purposes. E.g.,, etc.

        1. Paul Cooper

          Re: "May not be a name"

          "Possibly, I was thinking more that they may have a polish domain name and use a different prefix for different purposes. E.g.,, etc."

          They don't.

  4. chuBb.

    Probably worth searching on some spam address db's

  5. Drew 11

    I know a lot of borderline insane hams and not many of those go on dxpeditions.

    The "borderline" bit might be optional, too.

  6. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    and I thought I was bonkers

    for having ideas of sailing to the Kerguelen isles.

  7. roger 8

    Vancouver-based tour operator Bestway Tours & Safaris has put together an expedition to visit Bouvet Island, departing from Ushuaia, Argentina, on Mar. 24, 2015 on board the M/V Ortelius, an ice-strengthened UL1 class expedition boat with 47 cabins accommodating up to 104 passengers

    The expedition concludes on April 22, 2015 in Ascension Island.

    so i would get in touch with Vancouver-based tour operator Bestway Tours & Safaris. as this trip was in the timeframe of the message in a bottle.

    the person who sent in may be on the passenger manifest

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The moment they send an email back they're going to be inundated with bottles.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      "Don't open that bottle. It's probably full of malware."


    oh come on

    all they had to do was xray it... they are on a ship with a full medical bay and sonar operators...

    1. YetAnotherLocksmith

      Re: oh come on

      X-ray what? The bottle? It's already transparent. And a regular x-ray machine wouldn't do anything to reveal the writing.

  10. Ochib

    Are they sure it wasn’t left by the previous expedition, to give this one something to do?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      something for Boaty to find?

  11. SquidEmperor

    Found the boat!

    After some investigation I think I have identified the boat the mysterious judbas@?????.pl was on.

    Specifically the Ortelius - which took a number of tourists on a month long trip around the area in March/April 2015

    The Ortelius was located off-shore of Bouvet on April 6 and 7 of 2015 but was unable to land. My suspicion is one of the tourists set the bottle afloat at that time.

    Here is a travel blog written by a Russian that details them being off-shore at Bouvet at that time:

    I emailed the blog's author to see if he can identify the mysterious

    1. SquidEmperor


      Just got this response from the Russian blog author:

      "..Yeah, sure. She is a Polish doctor from our trip to Bouvet. I'll send her a message :-)"

      I claim my free vulture cup

      1. HildyJ Silver badge

        Re: WE HAVE A WINNER!

        Reg readers beat boffins again. Let us know if you get a reply. Cheers.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: WE HAVE A WINNER!

        One more reason to keep reading ElReg commentards. This place never ceases to amaze me.

      3. JohnOates

        I for two

        Thank you SquidEmperor,

        I was absolutely certain someone on here would track down the bottle chucker - but thought it might take a few days.

        Great work, hopefully we can get an update story.

        Thank you for your digging

      4. Robert Helpmann??

        Re: WE HAVE A WINNER!

        Worth following up: any response yet? Inquiring minds want to know.

      5. SquidEmperor


        OK - Quick update

        [1]. I Still have not been able to contact the bottle tosser

        [2]. Now have a name (Malgorzata ), a profession (Doctor) and a full email address

        * Malgorzata is derived from the Greek word margarita (μαργαρίτα) meaning "pearl". It is equivalent to the English "Margaret"

        [3]. A fellow passenger has emailed Malgorzata and some other passengers who were also on the trip to see if we can get in touch with her

        [4]. I've shared this information (and the full email which I won't share here for privacy) with the Australian Antarctic Division so they can forward the details to Stella Thomas who works for them and was the person who found the bottle

        So in summary the bottle was indeed dropped off the vessel M/V Ortelius whilst it was off-shore of Bouvet Island on (we assume) April 6 2015 by a Polish Doctor named Malgorzata who various individuals are endeavouring to contact to let her know that her bottle has been received.

        1. GrumpenKraut
          Thumb Up


          There HAS to be a new article with this in it!

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: UPDATE WE HAVE A WINNER!

            Indeed. Make it all scientific-like, with circles and arrows explaining the currents involved in the bottle's journey ... it's for posterity, after all. Who among us hasn't put a note in a bottle and set it adrift? :-)

            It occurs to me that sadly, in today's world, the greenaholics would probably insist that such flights of whimsy are littering, and bad for the environment. Bastards.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. GrumpenKraut

      Re: Found the boat!

      Just. Wow. ------------->

      Make sure to let El Reg know, so they can update the article (or spin a new one).

  12. ma1010


    While there certainly are hams who go to places about as hospitable as this, most go to more desirable real estate. For example, Midway (famous for the battle there in WW II) is now a wildlife sanctuary, but some hams went there a few years back. And there are other, more pleasant, pacific islands and such that hams sometimes go to. But I'd say you have to be really dedicated to want to go all that far just to get radio contacts.

    All this makes what I do to work Field Day (when we take our radios and portable antennas out into a field somewhere and operate them off generators to test emergency communications capabilities) look pretty tame.

  13. jmch Silver badge

    Quite a trip!

    Quite a trip for the bottle:,+Australia/@-47.4528175,80.996622,3.05z/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x463a3f223c0c2717:0xb76870f9f9dabceb!2m2!1d3.3464497!2d-54.4207915!1m5!1m1!1s0xa9091ebfbc0960c1:0x4926cd0684c37223!2m2!1d158.855615!2d-54.6208115!3e0

    Also note: "Sorry, your search appears to be outside our current coverage area for driving. "

    1. Charlie van Becelaere

      Re: Quite a trip!

      Also note: "Sorry, your search appears to be outside our current coverage area for driving. "

      No luck getting directions to the Mountains of Madness either.

    2. KBeee Silver badge

      Re: Quite a trip!

      Fortunately Hell in Norway is drivable - so I get the pleasing message "Your Route To Hell" on my satnav

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Please do not bother looking for us on Bouvet Island. First of all we don't exist and secondly, we like to live somewhere more comfortable.Why do you think the Bavarian Illuminati? Beer, wine and pork, that's why. And castles, we do like castle. All of which are in short supply there.

    Plus Agent 45 has gone rogue and we're all working on that right now.

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Illuminati

      As a scientist, published in Nature and an atheist to boot you might think that I would get an invite to join. Mind you the post around here is terrible so maybe it keeps going missing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Illuminati

        If we existed we'd be into world domination, not science.

        Go to Eton, get a degree in classics or history from Oxford or Yale, now we're cooking with chocolate.

  15. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Don't own up !

    When they trace the sender, they'll prosecute for littering

  16. Anonymous Coward


    What a boring, humdrum message. If it was me, I would have put together something like this, intentionally blurring and blotting out the intervening words.

    ".....Must warn you.....found an alien spacecraft.....dug it out of the ice....not dead, but destroyed, so many Jessie this morning...I am the last surviv....Keep looking. Keep watching the skies!!" Maybe I would cut myself and add a dramatic blood smear.

    I'd love to see what the Aussies would make of that!!

    1. Aussie Doc

      Re: Boring....

      Probably something like "We're not here to fuck spiders so let's check it out. After a few beers, first."

      BBQ first ---->

  17. Korev Silver badge


    Antarctic researchers send an SOS to the world: Who wrote this message in a bottle?

    The subtitle certainly had a Sting to it...

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Song

      Can someone please call the Police?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brute force solution

    A quick search shows that there are 1,085,533 .pl domains

    It is likely that the ????? part of the email ID judbas@?????.pl is one of those domains

    Just send out 1,085,533 emails and see how many replies you get.

    It is sort of a solution but not a very good one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brute force solution

      Sadly the excellent efforts of Squid Emperor have made this approach redundant. Have an "Up" as a reward.

  19. Juan Inamillion

    I say, top banana!

    You Reg chappies (and -esses) are the best, what a superb bit of community-spirited detective work.

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