On January 10 , a container holding almost 29,000 plastic bath toys spills off a cargo ship into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and breaks open. The unsinkable toys, which were en route from Hong Kong to Tacoma (Washington), include a lot of iconic yellow rubber ducks that have since been caught up in the world’s ocean currents and continue turning up on the most improbable shores. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer, saw from the beginning how valuable the rubber duckies could be in tracing ocean currents, and correctly predicted their trip through the Northwest Passage.
Apparently these buoyant and nearly indestructible little quackers have helped scientists track ocean currents and are showing up on beaches on several continents, and have become collectors items of a weird sort. Here’s a link to the turgid wikipedia entry on the Friendly Floatees. Keep your eyes peeled at the beach this summer.