Trash can drifts from Myrtle Beach to Ireland

Not paddling related* but ocean currents related, so kind of interesting.

*unless, when faced with this evidence of a trashcan as a capable ocean-going vessel, someone now decides to try paddling one.

There are set ocean currents that shape the patterns of weather we experience on the land masses in the eastern US and western Europe. That trash can rode the Gulfstream up the eastern seaboard and across north Atlantic.

There is concern that global warming will change the currents and thus the climates being experienced here and overseas.


I recall some years ago that a cargo ship crossing from Asia to North America was sunk by a storm and dumped thousands of rubber duckies and other plastic critter toys in the northern Pacific. A clever oceanographer then figured out a way to track them for 15 years which aided in mapping currents. The toys reached every continent but Africa. Better explained in this Wikipedia entry:

Yes, there is also evidence of the Kuroshio (kind of the Pacific counterpart to the Gulf Stream) having been affected by climate change, with the change in the current further impacting weather.

I remember reading about the rubber duckies that escaped off a container ship! There was also a similar incident involving sneakers, but since sneakers aren’t as bouyant and weather-resistant as rubber duckies, they probably couldn’t use those to track ocean currents for many years.

Several years ago there was a long time Pnet poster, I believe his screen name was liv2paddle but I may be mistaken. I believe he was in one of the Canadian Maritime provinces and he had to swim doing a rough coastal paddle, he lost his hold of the kayak and his kayak eventually drifted to UK or Europe. I believe he died a few years ago. Anybody remember the details? I googled a bit but did not come up with the story.

Was there anybody in the Trash Can? This could be the first such successful trash can crossing.

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I remember Liv2paddle. Yes, he passed on. Here is the story and thread:


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An offshore race boat was lost in Key West I believe it ended up in England 5 years later.

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Oldtimer Alzheimer test!

I remember the kayak as having been lost off the coast of NC or thereabouts and a couple in a sailboat found it near Europe.

The kayak was a watertight NDK Romany or Explorer, whose day hatch still held the (moldy) sandwich!

Liv2paddle himself posted the story here.

Edit: I see that liv2paddle posted the story again, years later, now showing as “system” since he died. But the earlier account gave other details, such as the moldy sandwich and, I think, the couple’s nationality.

If you are interested in how/why things drift, dig into this guy, Arthur Allen of the Coast Guard

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Maybe that guy who was trying to “run” across the ocean in a floating hamster wheel. The Coast Guard keeps stopping him in his weird homemade contraptions so he probably wanted a more unobtrusive vessel like a trash can.

There was a book written about the floatees - Moby Duck. (There were a few that made the Northwest Passage in less time than the combined efforts of the European voyages of discovery) Its a delightful read. Its mostly about the fate of plastics in the modern world, not a lot of specific info on ocean currents.


The current thread’s drift floats some interesting topics. :thinking: :wink:


I used to do coastal and Island cleanups for the Maine Island Trail Association. It was amazing what the ocean gyre brought in. For us in the Labrador Current it often was bottles of liquid from Scandanavia. Often filled with yellow we never opened them to ascertain what the liquid was; could have been pee! Of course 25 miles out we do have the Gulf Stream so the bottles could have come that way too and in on a storm.

Still trying to figure out where the bowling ball came from.

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Thanks for the book tip, PJC. I love natural history and real science-based non-fiction so that’s a title I will definitely seek out.

Found a coconut on a SC beach once. The closest coconut trees are in south FL. Not the longest distance traveled but interesting to me. Another time I found a liquor bottle on a central Fl Atlantic beach with a message that said greetings from Guantanamo. The coconut could have come from Cuba or elsewhere.

Well - if the book is that, its definitively science based natural history lite. The author is an English teacher who taught Moby Dick for years who ends us meeting up with a group of people who spend their vacations beach combing the world for the bath toys that were released when one container broke free from a container ship in a storm off the Aleutians. There were, if memory serves, 28,000 four packs of bath toys released from that container and there was one duck in each pack. And they have turned up in Hawaii, California, Maine, Scotland (I think), the Queen Charlotte Islands… all over the world. They have become prized by these collectors who search the world’s shores for them. The book chronicles four excursions in search of the story of these toys and along the way the fate of all oceanic plastics. Its a delightfully quirky book.

Sounds like we need to bring Iron Eyes Cody back for an encore presentation.