Message in bottle travels 500 metres in 24 years

It was October 1983. 'Fanny and Alexander' had just won an Oscar for best foreign film, Nena topped the German charts with '99 Luftballons, and three sisters from the south east of Sweden sent a message in a bottle to the world.

The young girls probably envisaged making contact with their peers in America, Papua New Guinea, or even Finland. Instead their little glass bottle only managed a less than epic 500 metre journey from the launch site in the fishing village of Stensö to a nearby park.

Lovisa Granberg, a student of journalism, was out for a Sunday walk when she spotted the bottle in a clump of reeds, newspaper Barometern reports.

Having unscrewed the cork, she found a note written by the three Gustafsson sisters 24 years earlier. The girls, aged 7, 12 and 13 at the time, kept the message simple: “Write to us!”

Granberg used some of the skills she had learned at college to trace the three sisters. She eventually got her hands on their father’s mobile phone number and the gap between past and present was bridged.

“It’s a little bit embarrassing that it didn’t get further. But I have to say that neither me or my sisters even remember sending a message in a bottle,” Viktoria Pettersson, the youngest of the sisters, told Barometern.

Viktoria’s older sister Camilla Zidén also has trouble recalling the good times.

“I suppose what we remember most is that we fought, but it seems we were able to agree on the contents of the message,” she said.