Monday, April 11, 2011

28,000 Rubber Duckies

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What can 28,000 rubber duckies lost at sea teach us about our oceans?

A shipping container filled with rubber duckies was lost at sea in 1992, and the bath toys are still washing ashore today.

Rubber duck on beach
In 1992, a shipping crate containing 28,000 plastic bath toys was lost at sea when it fell overboard on its way from Hong Kong to the United States. No one at the time could have guessed that those same bath toys would still be floating the world's oceans nearly 20 years later.
Since that fabled day in 1992 when they were unceremoniously abandoned at sea, the yellow ducks have bobbed halfway around the world. Some have washed up on the shores of Hawaii, Alaska, South America, Australia and the Pacific Northwest; others have been found frozen in Arctic ice. Still others have somehow made their way as far as Scotland and Newfoundland, in the Atlantic.
This map details the extent of where the ducks have traveled so far:
Perhaps the most famous Floatees, though, are the some 2,000 of them that still circulate in the currents of the North Pacific Gyre — a vortex of currents which stretches between Japan, southeast Alaska, Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands that the plight of the duckies helped to identify.

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