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Living on Raw Penguins

Found 24 November 1878, Wellington, New Zealand.

In a sealed bottle:

H.M. screw corvette Firefly, Captain Harmer Jones, wrecked November 2, 1878, on the Auckland Isles. All lives saved except three A.B.’s and second engineer. Signed, H. Jones, commander, H. Leslie, first-lieutenant. Send relief at once. Provisions all exhausted. Living on raw penguins. The lord help us.

Found on a beach behind the New Zealander Hotel by the son of the hotel owner Frank Mountain, this curiously detailed message was regarded as a “silly hoax”.

[New Zealand Press, 26 November 1878]