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FLOTSAM: General Flotsam Notes

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349011.  Sat May 31, 2008 7:24 am Reply with quote

The history of messages in bottles is a fairly sketchy one. It is often said that the first message was sent by Greek philosopher Theophrastus in order to prove that the Mediterranean was fed by the Atlantic, and that in Elizabethan England, anyone other than the official "Uncorker of Ocean Bottles" could face the death penalty should they open a bottle – however we have been unable to find much support for either factoid. The Elizabethan post is mentioned in Victor Hugo’s 1869 novel “The Man Who Laughs”, while its ubiquity on the internet appears to have come from a Readers Digest book of amazing facts, a book which also tells about Chunosuke Matsuyama, a Japanese seaman who was wrecked with 44 shipmates in 1784. Matsuyama carved a brief account of their tragedy on a piece of wood, sealed it in a bottle, and then threw it into the sea, however it didn’t do him much good as it wasn’t found for 150 years when it washed up at the very seaside village where Matsuyama had been born. These days, of course, many children will set bottles adrift in the hope that they will receive a reply.

In 1992 29,000 plastic bath toys, mainly yellow ducks but also beavers, turtles, and frogs, were dropped into the Pacific when a container ship lost some of its cargo in heavy seas. Since then, they have followed a path, determined by the earth’s tides, and one was washed up in Devon in 2007. If you find one and send it in to the manufacturers they’ll supposedly pay you $100 for it. The floating toys were of particular interest to oceanographers; their path was predicted with incredible accurately by Dr Curtis Ebbsmeyer – he even predicted that they’d be caught in Arctic ice for 5-6 years. The queen has a rubber duck in her bath; it wears a mini-crown.

Ocean flotsam, especially that in the Sargasso Sea, can provide shelter for juvenile fish such as tuna that use it to hide from sea birds. The cornish word for flotsam, jestom and the like is "scummow". Mermaids tears are small plastic pellets of waste that wash up on beaches and look like little plastic fish eggs.

349457.  Sat May 31, 2008 6:27 pm Reply with quote

The queen has a rubber duck in her bath; it wears a mini-crown.

Says who?

349604.  Sun Jun 01, 2008 5:24 am Reply with quote

Says a workman who was working in the Buck Pal bathrooms, as quoted by the beeb here:

349741.  Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:58 am Reply with quote

Impeccable. Thanks.


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