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Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003/1:32 PM

Duk's Arse

Ducks escape slave ship and populate the world

Ducks in Icebergs

On January 10, 1992, a cargo ship en route from Hong Kong to Tacoma, Washington state, hit a storm in the middle of the Pacific. The containers on deck swayed so violently that a dozen tore free, spilled overboard and at least one burst open. Cargoes fall off vessels every day, except that several months later dozens of toy ducks, as well as blue turtles, red beavers and green frogs, washed ashore in southern Alaska. 29,000 of them in total!

This rubber duck armada gave the oceanographers a huge test of their computer models of winds and currents. As predicted, some of the toys steered south and circled the entire north Pacific ocean in just three years, while many sailed up into the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia and some made it into the Arctic ocean where they were trapped in ice.

(ouch! - Duk)

Over the next decade a few survivors are expected to be spat out from there into the north Atlantic and might get washed up on British beaches, more than 14,000 kilometres from the start of their odyssey.


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