Picture this…there you are languishing in a tub of warm bubbly water soaking your aches and pains away. You are not alone, you are in the good company of your favourite Rubber Ducky you fondly call Eric in whom you like to confide your woes at the end of the day. Eric is a good listener and having offloaded your worries your mind begins to wander and you imagine your bath time companion somehow drifting at sea. You see him as a tiny yellow blob bobbing on an expanse of ocean almost melting under a scorching sun; tossing around helplessly in huge waves in raging storms; bumping into icebergs in freezing Arctic climes; eventually coming to rest somewhat weather-beaten on a faraway shore. A kindly beachcomber plucks him from an assortment of debris, scrubs him squeaky clean and bestows him pride of place in the safety of a bath tub once more. A shiver stirs you from your dozy state; the bath water is stone cold. Your eyes ping open and you are greatly relieved to see little Eric grinning at you as only little Eric can do. You smile back at him and pull the plug.
Well, the imaginary adventures of Eric are not so far removed from the realms of reality as they might seem. Not in the light of the true story, that is, of a crate load of plastic bath toys (all 28,800 of them) that set forth on a boat from China destined for the USA but got tipped overboard and let loose on the way. That was in 1992 and the incredible journey of all those rubber duckies and friends are still being tracked to this day, which has not only proved to be a matter of great curiosity but also a source of informative discovery from an eco-oceanographic point of view. An interesting story indeed and here’s an interesting article on that very subject.