Our neighbour DJ received an unexpected email the other day. The sender offered a fee, in return for assistance with a certain valuable object that needed to be collected from where it had been deposited, and posted to the sender. We all get this kind of spam, don’t we just!
But you know what, not all those who send unsolicited emails are spammers or scammers.
This one was – ostensibly – from a research institute in California. . Okay, that’s easy to fake … but surely it would really be from some place in West Africa, or Russia. Wouldn’t it?
But read on:
Dear Proprietors of the Kilbride Campsite,
Greetings from San Diego, California, USA!
One of our oceanographic buoys has washed up on the shore near your campsite, toward Ludag. Please refer to the attached pictures to see the map. It’s last known position isLatitude 57 degrees 6.181' N ; Longitude 7 degrees 19.894' W
The buoy has traveled over the last 6 months all the way across the Atlantic, measuring waves and currents, and transmitting its data back to us via satellite.
I was wondering if you’d make the effort to try and recover it and ship it back to us? We offer a reward of $100.00US, and will pay all packing and shipping costs. It is a 15″ orange sphere, weighs approximately 20 pounds, with a drogue parachute attached to the bottom of it (if it’s still attached that is). It probably has a lot of algae and barnacles on it at this point, so it might be a bit stinky.
Please let me know if you’re available to help out. If not, I can continue my inquiries in Eriskay.
Thank you so much for your consideration,
Tony de Paolo
University of California, San Diego
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
The proof, they say, is in the pudding …
Here’s DJ and his wee nephew finding and collecting the buoy – the slow boat from California.
I wonder just what the customs paperwork is like for something like that.