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http seawifs gsfc nasa gov OCEAN PLANET HTML oceanography currents 2 html Staying on Top These shoes just did it Surface currents in the oceans move in large slow circles called gyres That explains the story of 60 000 Nike shoes spilled from a stormtossed cargo ship in the northeastern Pacific in May 1990 Shoes courtesy of Steve McLeod and Donovan Johnson The shoes washed ashore one at a time but were wearable after a scrub down to remove barnacles algae and tar Beachcombers held swap meets to find matched pairs Six months to a year later beachcombers from British Columbia to Oregon began to find shoes Oceanographers constructed a computer model that predicted the shoes route In 1993 shoes were found in Hawaii If the shoes complete the gyre s circuit they will turn up in Japan and the Philippines and in 1996 or 1997 again wash up on North American shores The North Pacific gyre has been dropping off shoes around the Pacific since 1990 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 shoe spill May 27 1990 250 recovered March 26 1991 200 recovered May 18 1991 100 recovered January February 1991 200 recovered November December 1990 200 recovered February March 1991 150 recovered April 4 1991 200 recovered May 9 10 1991 several recovered January March 1993 predicted January July 1994 http www science frontiers com sf097 sf097g14 htm SCIENCE FRONTIERS ON LINE No 97 Jan Feb 1995 RUBBER DUCKIES CHASE NIKE SHOES ACROSS PACIFIC Remember that amusing item in SF 84 about the 80 000 Nike shoes that were lost overboard in the Pacific in 1991 These shoes washed ashore months later in Canada and Alaska carried thousands of miles by prevailing currents Well it s happened again This time eleven steel containers fell off a cargo vessel in the North Pacific near the International Dateline The containers released 29 000 bath toys duckies turtles froggies and beavers Ten months after the spill January 10 1992 the first yellow duckies washed ashore in Canada These spills are useful in charting ocean currents but

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