April 5, 2009

Today is the first day of the 25th Annual Week of the Ocean which is a perfect time to tell you about a talk Blair and I went to Thursday night. Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano did a PowerPoint presentation on their new book: “Flotametrics and the Floating World. How One Man’s Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science.” It could have been titled “How Rubber Duckies Go, so Goes the Ocean.”  I was curious about the rubber duck part, as you can imagine.  Ebbesmeyer has studied oceans for 35 years and he admitted he just didn’t have the whole picture about ocean currents until the unexpected spill of 29,000 rubber ducks bound for Seattle from China spilled into the ocean.

What happened next turned out to be the key to ocean currents.  Rubber ducks washed up on beaches in Sitka and months later on beaches in Japan. Three years later, more ducks washed up in Sitka, followed some months later by the arrival of the ducks in Japan.  And, so on every three years like clockwork since 1992.  These ducks are indestructible!! He realized that the Subpolar gyre (as a circular current is called) had a three year travel time.  He found other gyres have a six year travel cycle-the Subtropical gyre carrying 100,000 pairs of Nike shoes, for instance.

So one man’s obsession with runaway sneakers and rubber ducks has revolutionized ocean science. The lecture was riveting. Flotsametrics is his made up word for the study of the the flotsam and jetsam in our oceans. He recounted how flotsam has changed the course of history!

Dr. Ebbesmeyer, a professor of Oceanography at the University of Washington, can be found beach combing every chance he gets. If he had a million dollars, he’d go to the top 20 trash collecting beaches, photograph them and write a book sounding the alarm about the environmental impact of floating plastic trash in the oceans.  For the complete story of the great duck migration check out his website.

At Olympic Hot Tub Company we have our own “Duck Migration Project”.  Our customers have been taking their hot tub ducks on trips and photographing them in exotic locales.  It started when one was “kidnapped” and taken to Mexico by friend’s of a Hot Spring Spa owner.  The “kidnapper” send a photographic essay: “The Duck’s Journey” which will be feature in an upcoming post.  Here’s the rubber duck at Universal Studios and the Everglades National Park. Thanks to Olympic customers Yvonne and Gary Shimek of Edmonds.

Take your hot tub duck on a trip and send us the photos! We love following the journeys of Olympic Hot Tub ducks and their owners.

RES EST SERVA VOLUPTAS. Pleasure is serious business.