During a Pacific storm on 10 January 1992, three 40-foot containers holding 29,000 Friendly Floatees plastic bathtub toys from a Chinese factory were washed off a ship, containing blue turtles, yellow ducks, red beavers, and green frogs. Two-thirds of the toys floated south and landed three months later on the shores of Indonesia, Australia, and South America. The remaining 10,000 toys headed north to Alaska and then completed a full circle back near Japan, caught up in the North Pacific Gyre current as the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Many of the toys then entered the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia and were trapped in the Arctic ice. They moved through the ice at a rate of one mile per day, and in 2000 they were sighted in the North Atlantic. The movement of the toys had been monitored by American oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer. Bleached by sun and seawater, the ducks and beavers had faded to white, but the turtles and frogs had kept their original colours.
Between July and December 2003, The First Years Inc. offered a $100 US savings bond reward to anybody who recovered a Floatee in New England, Canada or Iceland. More of the toys were recovered in 2004 than in any of the preceding three years. However, still more of these toys were predicted to have headed eastward past Greenland and make landfall on the southwestern shores of the United Kingdom in 2007.
These toys were the subject of Donovan Hohn's 2011 book Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea.
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