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Friendly floatees to invade Britain June 28, 2007

Posted by dorigo in humor, news, science, travel.

You don’t need to be an oceanographer like Curtis Ebbesmeyer to love the idea – you just need to have been a child some time ago. Twentynine-thousand plastic ducks, the kind of toy you always find in the bathtub of small children, were dispersed in the pacific ocean in 1992 when a storm wrecked three containers of a cargo ship off the coast of China. They have since traveled the seven seas, some of them landing in Australia, others on the coast of Chile, and more than 10 thousand still around the globe, traveling about a mile a day in a long cold trip through the Bering straits, then frozen in pack ice, and finally thawing out in the warmer Atlantic waters – as Ebbesmeyer had predicted.

The retired oceanographer has spent his time following the ducks and other plastic toys in their 15-years journey. And valuable information has been obtained from the observation of the wanderings of these little plastic creatures. Indeed, they appear to be worth ready money… 

The Daily Mail, from which I stole the picture above, has the full story.



1. zerocold - June 29, 2007

I posted the same on my blog., Tommaso. What amazing story! I also noticed that this travel has been as an exercise on motion in one of the best teaching book. The book is “Physic” by James S. Walker. In fact we always forgot that we live on a planet who is fluid by the 80% so when you throw something on the water you don’t know when It will come back…

2. dorigo - June 29, 2007

Hi Piero,

I changed my name in your comment to avoid confusion.
Yes, I also saw your blog with the story after I posted this. I like to imagine the same happening to a spaceship carrying a cargo of third-generation GPS receivers a hundred years from now, between Earth and Mars. Now _that_ would be interesting.

3. Bee - July 1, 2007

Gee, looks like the stringy duck!


4. Blondie - August 29, 2007

Hi, I just found a plastic duck on a North Devon beach but it just says china on the side – is this one of the First Years inc ones or just a coincidence??

5. dorigo - August 29, 2007

Hi Blondie,

you’re lucky… It probably is one of those. Keep a note of the exact place where you picked it up and the date, and you can probably sell the thing on ebay for some hundreds.


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