Everything is Awesome: How Lego Sails the Seas

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lego octopus found in a cave in South Devon in the late 1990s. (Tracey Williams/Facebook)

In 1997, nearly five million nautical-themed Legos fell into the sea when a huge wave hit the container ship Tokio Express, washing 62 containers overboard—and they’ve been showing up on the beaches of Cornwall, England ever since.

American Oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer has been following these Legos over time. He's been combing beaches—he's tracked the paths of rubber ducks, found messages in bottles, and even stumbled across the occasional human skeleton.

Today, he explains how these Legos got misplaced.

Tracey Williams/Facebook
Daisies among the debris...
Tracey WIlliams/Facebook
A piece of Lego sea grass.
Tracey Williams/Facebook
A scuba tank, diver flipper and daisy, all from the container of Lego that fell off the Tokio Express back in 1997.
Tracey Williams/Facebook
These Lego dragons washed up in Bigbury on Sea, South Devon, England in the late 1990s.


Curtis Ebbesmeyer


T.J. Raphael

Comments [4]

Mark Magee from Ocean Park Wa.

Must read Moby Duck by Donovan Hahn, a wonderful work on drifting yellow duckies and all that goes with and comes from that. Ebbesmeyer is featured in that book.

Jul. 24 2014 07:44 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

From Trainspotting to Legospotting.

Jul. 24 2014 03:40 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

I'm sure there is a collectible market for these washed up treasures. This plastic world will turn these legos into ebay prized possessions.

Jul. 24 2014 12:02 PM
Michelangelo from Miami FL


Jul. 24 2014 11:20 AM

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