Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Thousands of rubber ducks to land on British shores after 15 year journey(E Pacific to N Atlantic)
Daily Mail ^ | 06/27/07 | BEN CLERKIN

Posted on 06/28/2007 7:57:54 PM PDT by TigerLikesRooster

Thousands of rubber ducks to land on British shores after 15 year journey

By BEN CLERKIN - More by this author »
Last updated at 22:00pm on 27th June 2007

Comments Comments (9)

They were toys destined only to bob up and down in nothing bigger than a child's bath - but so far they have floated halfway around the world.

The armada of 29,000 plastic yellow ducks, blue turtles and green frogs broke free from a cargo ship 15 years ago.

Since then they have travelled 17,000 miles, floating over the site where the Titanic sank, landing in Hawaii and even spending years frozen in an Arctic ice pack.

And now they are heading straight for Britain. At some point this summer they are expected to be spotted on beaches in South-West England.

While the ducks are undoubtedly a loss to the bath-time fun of thousands of children, their adventures at sea have proved an innvaluable aid to science.

Scroll down for more

rubber ducks

The toys have helped researchers to chart the great ocean currents because when they are spotted bobbing on the waves they are much more likely to be reported to the authorities than the floats which scientists normally use.

And because the toys are made of durable plastic and are sealed watertight, they have been able to survive years adrift at the mercy of the elements.

Boxes of the bathtime toys - made in China for the U.S. firm The First Years Inc - were washed overboard in the eastern Pacific Ocean one stormy January night in 1992 and broke open.

In the intervening time an oceanographer, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, has devoted his retirement to tracking the little yellow ducks and their friends over 17,000 miles, and it is he who has predicted that this summer they will land in the

West of England. Mr Ebbesmeyer said: 'We're getting reports of ducks being washed up on America's eastern seaboard.

"It is now inevitable that they will get caught up in the Atlantic currents and will turn up on English beaches.

"Cornwall and the South-West will probably get the first wave of them."

Curtis Ebbesmeyer

Curtis Ebbesmeyer has been tracking the floating plastic ducks around the world's oceans

Mr Ebbesmeyer said the toys will be easy for British beachboardcombers to spot because they have largely faded to white and have the words "The First Years" stamped upon them.

George Bush Snr was still US President when the toys from The First Years Inc. were made in China, packed into a container and put on a ship for the US.

But after falling overboard, the sea water corroded the card-packaging and the toys floated free. They circled the northern Pacific once before being washed up on the Alaskan shore, then all down the West coast of Canada and the US.

Mr Ebbesmeyer saw immediately how valuable the little toys would be to scientific research of the great ocean currents, the engine of the planet's entire climate.

He correctly predicted what many thought was impossible - that thousands of them would end up washed into the Arctic ice near Alaska, and then move at a mile a day, frozen in the pack ice, around their very own North-West Passage to the Atlantic.

It proved true years later and in 2003, the first "Friendly Floatees" were found, frozen and then thawed out, on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and Canada.

So precious to science are they that the US firm that made them is offering a £50 bounty for finding one.

THE JOURNEY SO FAR:

10 JANUARY 1992: Somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean nearly 29,000 First Years bath toys, including bright yellow rubber ducks, are spilled from a cargo ship in the Pacific Ocean.

16 NOVEMBER 1992: Caught in the Subpolar Gyre (counter-clockwise ocean current in the Bering Sea, between Alaska and Siberia), the ducks take 10 months to begin landing on the shores of Alaska.

EARLY 1995: The ducks take three years to circle around. East from the drop site to Alaska, then west and south to Japan before turning back north and east passing the original drop site and again landing in North America. Some ducks are even found In Hawaii. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) worked out that the ducks travel approximately 50 per pent faster than the water in the current.

1995 - 2000: Some intrepid ducks escape the Subpolar Gyre and head North, through the Bering Straight and into the frozen waters of the Arctic. Frozen into the ice the ducks travel slowly across the pole, moving ever eastward.

2000: Ducks begin reaching the North Atlantic where they begin to thaw and move Southward. Soon ducks are sighted bobbing in the waves from Maine to Massachusetts.

2001: Ducks are tracked in the area where the Titanic sank.

JULY TO DECEMBER 2003: The First Years company offers a $100 savings bond reward for the recovery of wayward ducks from the 1992 spill. To be valid ducks must be sent to the company and must be found in New England, Canada or Iceland. Britain is told to prepare for an invasion of the wayward ducks as well.

2003: A lawyer called Sonali Naik was on holiday in the Hebrides in north-west Scotland when she found a faded green frog on the beach marked with the magic words 'The First Years'. Unaware of the significance of her find she left it on the beach. It was only when she was chatting to other guests at her hotel that she realised what she had seen.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: atlantic; climate; coastalenvironment; duckarmada; environment; godsgravesglyphs; oceancurrent; pacific; rubberduck; thorheyerdahl; thorheyerduck; tlr

1 posted on 06/28/2007 7:57:59 PM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: AntiGuv; neverdem; blam
Indestructible rubber ducks, ping!
2 posted on 06/28/2007 7:58:49 PM PDT by TigerLikesRooster (kim jong-il, chia head, ppogri, In Grim Reaper we trust)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

I remember when these ducks were lost. There were a number of studies done based on the routes of these ducks. Interesting, thanks.


3 posted on 06/28/2007 8:07:28 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border then, Introduce an Illegal Immigrant Deportation Bill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster
Scientists track rubber toys Critters lost at sea provide lessons in ocean currents
4 posted on 06/28/2007 8:08:57 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border then, Introduce an Illegal Immigrant Deportation Bill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster
Plastic duck armada is heading for Britain after 15-year global voyage
5 posted on 06/28/2007 8:10:00 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border then, Introduce an Illegal Immigrant Deportation Bill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

thanks, bfl


6 posted on 06/28/2007 8:10:43 PM PDT by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

Great story. Thanks.


7 posted on 06/28/2007 8:11:37 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam; Peanut Gallery
Plastic duck armada is heading for Britain after 15-year global voyage

That's OK, Sir Francis Mallard will save the day.

8 posted on 06/28/2007 8:16:21 PM PDT by Professional Engineer (Pray for the president, for he has clearly gone insane.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

Rubber ducky, you’re the one
You make oceanography so much fun


9 posted on 06/28/2007 8:18:00 PM PDT by Rastus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster
There is also a children's book written about this incident.


10 posted on 06/28/2007 8:22:12 PM PDT by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

For a mere $30,000,000. I propose to replicate this experiment. A few hundred dollars for more ducks, and $29,999,500 for a, um, report.


11 posted on 06/28/2007 8:37:37 PM PDT by coloradan (Failing to protect the liberties of your enemies establishes precedents that will reach to yourself.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

12 posted on 06/28/2007 8:40:21 PM PDT by lowbridge ("The mainstream media IS the Democratic Party." - Rush Limbaugh)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

A fun story. What a nice ending to a great day. Thanks for posting it.


13 posted on 06/28/2007 8:47:25 PM PDT by goldfinch
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

How did they get out of the sea container? was it an open top? Cool story and you sometimes have sea containers bobbing around the north atlantic these days.


14 posted on 06/28/2007 8:57:03 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Defeat liberalism, its the right thing to do for America.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster
"Boxes of the bathtime toys - made in China ..."

Oh no! Watch them be recalled!!!

15 posted on 06/28/2007 8:58:00 PM PDT by mass55th (Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway~~John Wayne)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rastus
Cute, I like it...

This is one of those simple but cool little stories.

Of course Greenpeace will start complaining that the ducks choked a polar bear or something...

16 posted on 06/28/2007 9:15:59 PM PDT by ejonesie22 (Don't worry hippie, we'll defend you too. Now fetch my Cafe Mocha will you....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

17 posted on 06/28/2007 10:11:00 PM PDT by Roscoe Karns
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster; FARS; Calpernia; milford421

What fun.


18 posted on 06/29/2007 12:29:24 AM PDT by nw_arizona_granny ( Today is a good day for working on some heavy praying. The world needs God to hear them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: coloradan

You’ll get more money by writing for a grant for your experiment.


19 posted on 06/29/2007 2:34:24 PM PDT by art_rocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: coloradan

Stick in the words “global warming” anywhere in your request and the $$$$ will flow!


20 posted on 07/14/2007 7:24:42 AM PDT by Roccus (Able Danger??? What's an Able Danger?????)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: ComputerGuy; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Note: this topic is from 6/28/2007. Blast from the Past.

Thanks TigerLikesRooster.

Ordinarily I'd only be adding this, but it's a fun sidebar.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


21 posted on 05/22/2012 9:07:41 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster; SunkenCiv

Where did that beaver come from?


22 posted on 05/22/2012 9:15:13 AM PDT by ComputerGuy (HM2/USN M/3/3 Marines RVN 66-67)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv; TigerLikesRooster

I emailed the link to my daughter. Her husband is a rubber ducky maven.

Of course, my questions are: 1. Why didn’t someone think of this before, and 2. How many ducks and friends will be left for the final count, and 3. Will the ocean currents bring them back around to their starting point?


23 posted on 05/22/2012 9:47:54 AM PDT by Monkey Face (Stamp out circumlocutory sesquepedalianisms!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster

“Breaker, breaker!”

“Rubber Duck here. Looks like we’ve got ourselves a convoy!”


24 posted on 05/22/2012 9:51:24 AM PDT by tarheelswamprat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ComputerGuy

Wooden you like to know.


25 posted on 05/22/2012 10:07:47 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Monkey Face

Hey, the scientists did the *nest* they could do.


26 posted on 05/22/2012 10:11:01 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv; TigerLikesRooster
Found a February 11, 2012 update to this Duck Tail (click the pic):

Interesting story, thanks.

27 posted on 05/22/2012 11:29:59 AM PDT by brityank (The more I learn about the Constitution, the more I realise this Government is UNconstitutional !!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: HANG THE EXPENSE

“Cool story and you sometimes have sea containers bobbing around...”

A few weeks ago a wheeled, enclosed trailer showed up on the shores of Western Canada. It was from Japan (tsunami debris). Inside was a Harley Davidson motorcycle - pretty much trashed of course. Someone tracked down the owner, and HD is going to rebuild the bike (for free) and ship it back to the owner!


28 posted on 05/22/2012 12:31:10 PM PDT by 21twelve
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: tarheelswamprat

I thought it wuz, “Hey! Pigpen! This here’s the Rubber Duck! Looks like we got us a CON-voy!” What a movie!


29 posted on 05/22/2012 12:37:54 PM PDT by Monkey Face (Stamp out circumlocutory sesquepedalianisms!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

They must have been quacking up with all the info they were gandering.

I shall weight and sea.


30 posted on 05/22/2012 12:40:59 PM PDT by Monkey Face (Stamp out circumlocutory sesquepedalianisms!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Monkey Face

Sorry this story isn’t Current.


31 posted on 05/22/2012 1:13:18 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: TigerLikesRooster; blam

Shouldn’t all or most of the ducks be trapped in the Pacific dead zone the enviros have been whining about?


32 posted on 05/22/2012 1:13:41 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: brityank

Thanks brityank.


33 posted on 05/22/2012 1:27:08 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

The Current is such a life-saver...

Life is such a Blessing for us all....


34 posted on 05/22/2012 2:08:43 PM PDT by Monkey Face (Stamp out circumlocutory sesquepedalianisms!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson