|FYI — October 2003|
|By Brad Dunn|
The not-so-lucky ducks were accidentally cast into the Pacific Ocean from a container ship en route from China to Seattle, Washington, in January 1992. They were lost during a storm somewhere near the intersection of the 45th Parallel and the international date line.
The castaway critters, which also included rubber turtles, frogs, and beavers, drifted en masse along the Alaskan coast. Three years later they entered the Bering Strait and began a slow transit of the Arctic Ocean. After another five years, they reached Iceland, and by 2001, they passed the spot in the northern Atlantic where the Titanic sank, according to the Associated Press.
“Some kept going, some turned and headed to Europe,” said Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer who’s been tracking the toys’ progress, according to the Greenwich Time. “By now, hundreds should be dispersed along the New England coast.”
Needless to say, the duckies and their friends have taken a pounding.
Originally stamped with the inscription “First Years” and dyed in a variety of bright colors, the smiley creatures are now completely bleached and battered. But many of the original 29,000 are still floating after their turbulent journey, and Ebbesmeyer says that the toys have helped oceanographers better understand the way surface currents behave.
The strange adventure also underscores how persistent some castaway cargo can be. In this case, 20 containers were lost; on average more than 10,000 containers go overboard every year. If rubber ducks can make it this far, so can more hazardous flotsam and jetsam.
“When trash goes into the ocean, it doesn’t disappear,” Ebbesmeyer said. “It just goes somewhere else.”
Her body: 3 parts Grey Goose vodka, 2 parts Apple Pucker schnapps, and a dash of sour mix. Her fit and finish: one slice of Granny Smith apple. The verdict: After repeating the test numerous times, let’s just say that our editors were reeling with praise.
This article originally appeared in the September 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.