FLOTSAM, JETSAM, YELLOW PLASTIC DUCKS… AND 50 ft DUCKZILLA!


Xmas1s

FLOTSAM, JETSAM, YELLOW PLASTIC DUCKS… AND DUCKZILLA!

Is one allowed a little light “fun” (toxic concept) around Christmas time? I think one is. If it is strictly controlled and vaguely relevant to the usual issues dealt with around here. Or can be shoehorned into some apposite theme… I very recently posted about the Delphi Club beach and its 2012 BEAD INVASION  I cross-referred to my section called BOOKCOMBING, specifically a selection of book reviews concerning FLOTSAM & JETSAM and general beach debris. One book, well-known by now, is called MOBY DUCK (see what the author did there? Anyone would be pleased to come up with that). It is cumbrously subtitled “The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea, and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, including the Author, who went in search of Them”.  They were washed overboard in a container some years back, and have been dispersed by current, tide, wind and storm to all corners of the globe.

No sooner had I “published” the post (a posh way of saying “clicked on the blue button”), than an article appeared in the Guardian newspaper, replete with photos, that made me laugh. Quite immoderately. So here is the gallery of Duckzilla being towed up the River Thames in London past (or under) various iconic landmarks. Is this relevant? Apart from it being an avian-based fatuous yellow duck on saline water, not really. Is it fun? Well, you be the judge, but I bet you a Kalik that you crack at least a small smile…

1.  “A team of eight people spent more than 800 hours cutting and welding together parts for a giant duck to ensure it was airtight and didn’t sink (could duck tape have helped?).”Onto Canary Wharf

2. “The giant duck, towering 50ft high and weighing in at half a tonne, prepares to float up the River Thames from Canary Wharf [business centre] in east London” towards central London.A giant 50ft rubber duck being prepared

3. “The  giant-size quacker passes under Tower Bridge … but only just. The madcap paddle-past was part of the launch for a new £250,000 bursary funding quack ideas aimed at making Britons laugh…” [RH note: thus confirming at one stroke what other nations think about the British, including in Europe. Especially in Europe...]A giant 50 foot rubber duck floats down the Thames under Tower Bridge

4. The duck, having ducked under the bridge, continues upriver, still smiling serenelyA giant rubber duck sails down river Thames

5. “Duckzilla floats past the Tower of London [dating from 1087] to the amazement of tourists”A giant 50 foot rubber duck floats past the Tower of London

6. “All hands on duck! The giant duck passes HMS Belfast – shame it couldn’t raise a wing in salute…”Past HMS BelfastPhoto credits and blame for the captions (mostly): The Guardian

Gore Vidal, once taken to task by a critic for “meretricious” writing, responded “Meretricious to You , and a Happy New Year”. On which literary note I will be taking a break for some quality family-based feasting and entertainment, followed by fasting and a long snooze. I probably won’t add any posts until after January 1st (unless a Kirtland’s Warbler on Abaco is reported!). Thanks to everyone who kindly called in at Rolling Harbour during 2012 – see you in 2013.

RH cheerfully prepares to blank on the Delphi Club Beach. Ambition – 10; Equipment – 10; Skill – 1Rolling Harbour 2

BOOKCOMBING: AN OCCASIONAL THEMED SERIES (1) OCEAN DEBRIS


BOOKCOMBING

A MISCELLANY OF BOOKS MORE OR LESS RELEVANT TO ABACO LIFE

These are not books I have read myself. They are books that may be of interest to readers of this sort of blog. Islandy. Beachy. Mariney. A whiff of wildlife. They will be collected together under the BOOKS ETC menu as the series expands. If one of them catches your eye, then check online for reviews, reader ratings and prices. If I get round to one or more of them I will add my own views, but I am still gradually working through wildlife books that I have already paid for…

1. FLOTSAM, JETSAM & OCEAN DEBRIS

Flotsametrics and and the Floating World: How One Man’s Obsession With Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science

by Curtis Ebbesmeyer & Eric Scigliano

“Curtis Ebbesmeyer has made important discoveries about everything from currents to the huge floating garbage patches in the ocean to how life was first spread on earth and how the Vikings settled Iceland. In the tradition of John McPhee’s bestselling books on scientists who both study and try to protect the natural world, The Floating World offers a fascinating look at the creativity and energy of a most unusual man—as well as offering an amazing look at what currents have meant for the world and especially mankind through the centuries.  Hardcover; PP: 288; Illustration: 10-15 images throughout” Smithsonian Store

Washed Up: The Curious Journeys of Flotsam and Jetsam

by Skye Moody

“The ocean gives up many prizes, just setting them on our beaches for us to find. From rubber ducks that started out somewhere in Indonesia to land Venice Beach, to an intact refrigerator makes it way to the Jersey Shore. Chunks of beeswax found on the Oregon coast are the packing remnants of 18th century Spanish gold. Author Skye Moody walks the coast, dons her wet suit, and heads out to sea to understand the excellent debris that accrues along the tideline. There she finds advanced military technology applied to locating buried Rolexes, hardcore competitive beachcombing conventions, and isolated beach communities whose residents are like flotsam congregated at the slightest obstacle on the coastline. This book confirms that the world is a mysterious place and that treasure is out there to be found” (Publisher’s Fluff)

Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion

by Lorree Griffen Burns

“Tracking Trash is the story of Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer who studies the movement of ocean currents. Dr. Ebbesmeyer’s work has attracted attention because he has received much of his information from studying trash. It all began when his mother heard about sneakers that were washing up on a beach after a cargo ship lost one of its containers. Since then, he has tracked sneakers, Lego’s, and even rubber duckies that have been accidentally spilled at sea and made their way to shore. By understanding how ocean currents move, scientists hope to solve many problems such as fish shortages and animals being caught in fishing nets. This book was very enjoyable to read and easy to understand. The pictures were large and engaging. The author did a great job at making it feel like a story while at the same time giving a lot of scientific information” (Satisfied Amazon Punter)

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools who wen in search of them…

Donovan Hohn

I have just spotted that this book is about to be reprinted and, I imagine, updated at the end of February, so I am adding it to the collection. I note in passing that it is published by Penguin…

One 5* review on Amazon UK sets the scene: “This is a book that follows the journey of plastic ducks, turtles, frogs and beavers after the container they are in falls overboard and breaks open on impact with the sea. Moby Duck is fact that reads as good as fiction. The Author doesn’t only traverse the world of escapee plastic toys but meanders his way through a factory in China that makes bath toys, gets on a ship that is on research mission even though he has a fear of open water and even ends in Alaska where the first plastic duck was found. This is a great read, for anyone who likes a quirky book that tells a true story with wit, charm and gentle humour. Moby Dick is never far away in this book, only he has been transformed into Moby Duck…”

Amazon.com has 42 reviews, averaging a disappoining 3.5*. Some are ecstatic, some lukewarm, few can resist the golden opportunity proffered by the author to be “puntastic”. I like the one titled “An Eclectic Tale, but Caught in Its Own Eddy in the End”. Maybe that is the most astute summary of all.