Canadian student unraveling message in a bottle mystery

Feb. 14 (UPI) — A Canadian woman is trying to identify the author of an Indonesian-language message in a bottle found in Canada 16 years after the date on the note.

Nikki Saadat, a University of British Columbia forestry student, said she was harvesting seaweed near the village of Queen Charlotte, in British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii archipelago, in August 2019 when she and the boat’s crew spotted a bottle floating in the water.

“We swooped the boat around so we could pick it up and we saw there was a note inside of it. You could see the ink had kind of faded a bit,” Saadat told the Vancouver Courier.

Saadat and the crew were only able to read the date on the note: November 2003. The rest of the message was in a language no one on the boat recognized.

Saadat returned to the university with photos of the note, which remained with her boss in Haida Gwaii.

She said she didn’t give the photos of the note much thought until she showed them to some classmates, who recognized the language as Indonesian.

The note reads: “Mama, forgive me for not listening to your words of advice, even though those were what’s best for me. Mama, forgive me for being ashamed of your work, even though you did it all just for me, to provide meals on the table everyday. And, you’ve never complained about any of that, but you have me, an arrogant son who doesn’t know how to be grateful.”

The note was signed Yoris Naikambo, and did not include any contact information.

Saadat said she does not know if the bottle was set adrift from Indonesia or if Naikambo was working somewhere outside the country when he tossed it into the water. Karen Kohfeld, a professor in resource and environmental management at Simon Fraser University, said it is possible for a bottle tossed into the water in Indonesia to be carried by currents to the Canadian coast.

The student said she has contacted Indonesian media outlets in the hopes of finding Naikambo.