"The oil companies don't like me saying this, but if a million gallons of oil spill in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, one percent10,000 gallonswill show up in Everett and Puget Sound." In 1990, 80,000 pairs of Nikes in eight containers jumped ship during a storm in the mid-Pacific.
"Five-thousand-year-old baskets have turned up at the mouth of the Snohomish.Heavy rolling threw a dozen 40-foot-long (12-meter) containers overboard, two filled with Nike shoes.Beach Junk Serves as Ready-Made Markers Until 1990, Ebbesmeyer dropped buoys, drift cards, and markers into the sea to track current flows without giving much thought to what was already adrift.Shoes Can Float for Ten Years A pair of athletic shoes can float for ten years, Ebbesmeyer said."They're still wearable even after three years at sea," he said.He prowls beaches for shoes, plastic toys, glass floats, and tropical seeds.Tall, with a raft of white hair and a salty beard, Ebbesmeyer could easily pass for a beach bum who traded his suit and tie for a straw-hat, a zinc oxide stripe, and a pair of flip-flops."They're like restaurantssome serve Thai food, some Indian or Chinese food.Some beaches are known for their glass or driftwood or artifacts." In Edmonds, beach ranger Owen Caddy is used to finding the bright orange drift cards released by Ebbesmeyer's firm as part of the Puget Sound currents study."Someone asked me if a plane full of hockey players had crashed.They were finding hockey gloves all over the beach." Ebbesmeyer discovered that two 20-foot by 40-foot (6.1-meter by 12.2-meter) containers of hockey gloves, chest protectors, and shin guards had fallen overboard in the middle of the Pacific in 1994.