Digital Press-Gang
       Dec 2020    Rubber Duckie.  Broadcast on TOR-Radio  Read by JBL....

Has anyone heard of Moby Duck? No? and I have said that correctly, Moby Duck. 
In fact Moby is no giant either, he is a member of a flotilla of small bath toys 
lost at sea in January 1992.

Whilst travelling on board a container ship from Hong Kong to New York, a large 
container or two fell overboard. 

One hit another as they fell and into the ocean 28,800 bath toys found themselves 
free, bobbing around in the waves. 

They had no holes in them so didnít take on water, and although they had been attached
to cardboard backing, that dissolved rapidly allowing the bath toys complete freedom.

It wasnít just bright yellow ducks though, there were red beavers, green frogs, 
blue turtles and of course the bright yellow ducks.

Being bright yellow and very cute, they became much sought after trophies and 
beachcombers, oceanographers and environmentalists hunted them out using the internet 
to not only plot where they had been washed up, but commit to photographic evidence, their 
integrity and associated flotsam they had become associated with.

So intrigued by the whole incident, Donovan Hohn wrote the famous book, Moby Duck which
traced their path across and around the oceans.

A retired oceanographer by the name of Curtis Ebbesmeyer, decided to use his knowledge to 
investigate the gyre, a specific current which is found in Asiaís seas, using the ducks 
as his navigators. 

He said it was a useful accident because up until this time the gyre was known about but 
its direction, route and speed was still unknown. He said it was like knowing where the 
earth is in the solar system but not knowing its paths or speed around the sun.

Ebbesmeyer had originally tracked a container load of Nike trainers which had been 
lost at sea.  He established links with beach combers and between them they started recording 
the trainers as they appeared along the coast of Oregon and Washington. Now he had the 
bath toys and he was able to use a similar methods to track their progress.

It turns out it takes 3 years to go round this Asian gyre and even after 17 years the 
Floaties as they are affectionately known, are still in rude health. Some have been frozen 
in Alaska, some have sunned themselves off the coast of Hawaii and one made it all the way 
to the west coast of Scotland, but they can still be found bobbing around in the ocean and
have even become part of the plastic floating island which has formed in the Pacific ocean.

So, next time you see a plastic duck for the bath, just think, its relatives have been 
swimming around the globe without a care in the world.

       Written By JBL.  For broadcast by   TOR Radio   2020.