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Bottle released by Mass. scientist in 1956 found

  • This January 2014 photo released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, shows a glass bottle that had contained a message from the institution, which was recovered on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, by biologist Warren N. Joyce of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The bottle  was among thousands dumped in the Atlantic Ocean between 1956 and 1972 as part of a program by Woods Hole oceanographer Dean Bumpus to study surface and bottom currents. About 10 percent of the 300,000 drift bottles have been found over the years. (AP Photo/Warren N. Joyce)

    This January 2014 photo released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, shows a glass bottle that had contained a message from the institution, which was recovered on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, by biologist Warren N. Joyce of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The bottle was among thousands dumped in the Atlantic Ocean between 1956 and 1972 as part of a program by Woods Hole oceanographer Dean Bumpus to study surface and bottom currents. About 10 percent of the 300,000 drift bottles have been found over the years. (AP Photo/Warren N. Joyce)

  • This January 2014 photo released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, shows a message found inside a glass bottle recovered on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, by biologist Warren N. Joyce of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The bottle was among thousands dumped in the Atlantic Ocean between 1956 and 1972 as part of a program by Woods Hole oceanographer Dean Bumpus to study surface and bottom currents. About 10 percent of the 300,000 drift bottles have been found over the years. (AP Photo/Warren N. Joyce)

    This January 2014 photo released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, shows a message found inside a glass bottle recovered on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, by biologist Warren N. Joyce of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The bottle was among thousands dumped in the Atlantic Ocean between 1956 and 1972 as part of a program by Woods Hole oceanographer Dean Bumpus to study surface and bottom currents. About 10 percent of the 300,000 drift bottles have been found over the years. (AP Photo/Warren N. Joyce)

  • This January 2014 photo released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, shows a glass bottle that had contained a message from the institution, which was recovered on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, by biologist Warren N. Joyce of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The bottle  was among thousands dumped in the Atlantic Ocean between 1956 and 1972 as part of a program by Woods Hole oceanographer Dean Bumpus to study surface and bottom currents. About 10 percent of the 300,000 drift bottles have been found over the years. (AP Photo/Warren N. Joyce)
  • This January 2014 photo released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, shows a message found inside a glass bottle recovered on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, by biologist Warren N. Joyce of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The bottle was among thousands dumped in the Atlantic Ocean between 1956 and 1972 as part of a program by Woods Hole oceanographer Dean Bumpus to study surface and bottom currents. About 10 percent of the 300,000 drift bottles have been found over the years. (AP Photo/Warren N. Joyce)

BOSTON — It was April 1956, and the No. 1 song was Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel.” At the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, scientist Dean Bumpus was busy releasing glass bottles in a large stretch of the Atlantic Ocean.

Nearly 58 years later, a biologist studying grey seals off Nova Scotia found one of the bottles in a pile of debris on a beach, 300 miles from where it was released.

“It was almost like finding treasure in a way,” Warren Joyce said Friday.

The drift bottle was among thousands dumped in the Atlantic Ocean between 1956 and 1972 as part of Bumpus’ study of surface and bottom currents. About 10 percent of the 300,000 bottles have been found over the years.

Joyce found the bottle Jan. 20 on Sable Island, about 185 miles southeast of Halifax.

He contacted scientists at Woods Hole and dutifully gave them the time and place information Bumpus had asked for in a postcard inside the bottle. His reward will be exactly what Bumpus promised in 1956 to anyone who returned a bottle: a 50-cent piece.

“I didn’t want the reward, but they said they are sending it to me anyway,” Joyce said, chuckling.

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