A camera that drifted 8,000km across the Pacific Ocean for five-and-a-half years before washing ashore on Taiwan’s east coast is to be reunited with its owner, thanks to the persistent efforts of the man who found it.
Douglas Cheng (陳鵬宇), who works for China Airlines (CAL), said the camera washed ashore — covered in seaweed and barnacles — while he was walking on a beach during a trip to Taitung County last month for the Lunar New Year.
His curiosity about where the camera came from and how it ended up in Taitung fueled his search for the camera’s owner.
Thanks to a desiccant in the camera’s waterproof case, its mechanisms and battery were undamaged, Cheng said.
The restored memory card contained pictures of a blonde woman whom Cheng took to be the likely owner of the camera.
The pictures also showed a catamaran called Teralani 3, which Cheng tracked to Maui, the second-largest of the US’ Hawaiian Islands, where it is registered to a tour operator.
He contacted Hawaiian authorities and the tourism bureau through CAL’s Honolulu office and later yesterday, the airline said that it had found the owner.
CAL said the owner was Lindsay Crumbly Scallan of Newnan, Georgia, and that her identity was confirmed using her Facebook page.
Scallan said in an interview with Hawaii News Now that the photographs were taken during a vacation she took to Maui in 2007. The camera was lost during a nighttime scuba dive off Kaanapali.
“I just was floored that it was my camera and it was all my old pictures and it was amazing. I just couldn’t believe it had floated so far, so long ago and the memory card was still intact,” she said.
The airline said that it has invited Scallan to come to Taiwan to retrieve the camera and experience the friendliness of Taiwanese first-hand. The United Daily News had earlier reported that CAL would fly the owner for free.
Additional reporting by Shelley Shan