The Incredible Story of the Digital Camera Lost and Found at Sea

Image via Park Lee/Facebook

People are used to stories about messages in a bottle, but sometimes these messages are quite visual and happen to be quite different from what you’d expect.

One such involuntary ‘message in a bottle’ story happened recently in Asia, and the lead role in it is played by a… digital camera. This camera was lost at sea and only recently discovered, 250 km (155 miles) west of the place it was lost in, more than 2 years ago.

Even more interesting detail is that the camera was still operable, and its owner was found thanks to the photos on the memory card within.

The story begins with a group of students who organized to clean up a beach in northern Taiwan. An 11-year-old kid discovered an object there with a distinctive form that was covered in barnacles.

That object happened to be waterproof camera housing, and inside the kids found still functioning Canon compact digital camera that they were able to turn on (the battery still had some charge!).

The teacher who was overlooking the cleanup party, Park Lee, checked the memory card contents and found out it contained pics of a woman on vacation and different locations in Japan.

One of the pictures gave up some important details that helped in finding the camera owner: one of the photos was dated September 7th, 2015, and geolocation info showed it was made on Ishigaki Island in Japan.

Mrs. Lee tried to find the camera owner through Facebook.

“Is it possible to find the owner of a camera floating in the sea?” Lee wrote, sharing some details about the pictures discovered. Her post became a viral sensation and was shared by thousands of people all around the world. And less than 48 hours later, a friend of the owner recognized her in the photos and identified her as Serina Tsubakihara, a student at Sophia University in Tokyo.

Tsubakihara was quite happy to find out that somebody has found the camera she dropped in the sea while scuba diving in 2015 near Ishigaki. The camera that survived for 2 years in the open sea is now on its way back to its owner.