Friday, August 2, 2013


On 1 January 1992 a ship, sailing between Hong Kong and the west coast of the USA, hit rough weather. Its load of containers were buffeted and jostled, with several ending up in the ocean. One of these contained 28,800 bath toys - red beavers, green frogs, blue turtles and yellow ducks - made in China and on their way to American bath tubs. 
A US teacher, Donovan Hohn, became fascinated by this - on the face of it - rather mundane occurrence, taking him, against his better judgement, on a quest to find what happened to them. He visited southern China, the seas around Hawaii, the beaches of Alaska and the Arctic; he studied ocean currents, plastics production, ship insurance and global pollution. The whole thing was ridiculous in a way, but sometimes you just have to go with it. He got a good (though somewhat overlong) book out of it - Moby-Duck - which I've just finished. He found some ducks and learned more about this strange world we live in world, and then went back to his family and young son. Done. Over with.

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