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No. 97: Jan-Feb 1995

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Rubber Duckies Chase Nike Shoes Across Pacific

Remember that amusing item in SF#84 about the 80,000 Nike shoes that were lost overboard in the Pacific in 1991? These shoes washed ashore months later in Canada and Alaska, carried thousands of miles by prevailing currents. Well, it's happened again. This time, eleven steel containers fell off a cargo vessel in the North Pacific near the International Dateline. The containers released 29,000 bath toys: duckies, turtles, froggies, and beavers. Ten months after the spill (January 10, 1992), the first yellow duckies washed ashore in Canada.

These spills are useful in charting ocean currents but, except for wry Fortean content, are of little import to anomalists. However, there is one prediction of the computer models that is worth noting: Some of these bath toys may make it through the Bering Strait, across the Arctic Ocean, down past Greenland, and onto Atlantic shores. So, keep your eyes open at the beach!

(Anonymous; "Rubber Ducky Armada Crosses Pacific," Science News, 146: 254, 1994. Carlton, Jim; "Tub Toys Are Ducky Ocean Researchers," Wall Street Journal, September 30, 1994. Cr. J. Covey)

From Science Frontiers #97, JAN-FEB 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss