Oldest message in a bottle found in Australia

(Seven Network/CNN) - A walk on the beach led to an amazing discovery by an Australian couple - a 131-year-old message in a bottle that was thrown into the ocean.

Researchers believe the bottle spent more than a century buried under the Australian sand.

"It's a bit of a romantic thing, a message in a bottle," said Kym Illman, one of the discoverers.

Tonya Illman was walking along the beach two hours north of Perth when she spotted an old Dutch gin bottle.

"At no stage did we think it could have been 131 years old," she said.

Inside was a tiny, rolled-up note printed in German with some faint handwriting. The husband started investigating.

"When you looked at the year and it said 1800, I thought, 'Well, that's pretty significant,'" Kym Illman said.

It's believed thousands of the bottles were thrown into the ocean in the 19th century to help scientists understand ocean currents.

Almost 132 years have passed since the bottle was thrown overboard, but researchers believe its journey was significantly shorter. It probably washed ashore within its first year and spent more than a century underneath the sand.

The current Guinness World Record is held by a bottle that spans just over 108 years at sea.

"This one eclipses it by some 23 years," Kym Illman said.

It will now be on display in a museum.

Copyright 2018 Seven Network via CNN. All rights reserved.

This Week's Circulars