Fifteen years ago, off the coast of China, a shipment of bathtub toys was washed overboard. The cardboard wrappings soon rotted away, but the plastic animals were impervious to the elements, and so an estimated 17 000 rubber duckies, frogs, and turtles floated away.

And floated.

And floated.

A scientist, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, of Seattle, decided to use the ducks as a way to track ocean currents. Since the spill, ducks have been reported washed up on beaches in Australia , South America, and Canada, and they are now starting expected to start washing up on the beaches of England.rubberduckpath

How did they get to England?

Well, although many of the ducks just floated south and landed in nearby Australia, many of them went north to the Bering strait and entered the Arctic Ocean, eventually making it into the Atlantic.

So you see, that toy in the bath tub is not just a toy, it’s an adventure.

So if you see a bright yellow object was up on your beach, don’t panic. Call Professor Ebbesmeyer and let him know what you found.

Oh yes: he’s also tracking some Nikes that fell off a ship in 1992.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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