4.8 million Lego pieces keep washing ashore in Cornwall

July 24, 2014 | Environment
Lego: washing up in Cornwall since 1997 | Photo: Lego Lost At Sea

In 1997, a total of 4,756,940 Lego pieces were lost in the waters of Cornwall. More than 17 years later, plastic daisy flowers, dragons, spear guns, pirates and octopus are washing up, for example, at Perran Sands, in the United Kingdom.

On the 13th February 1997, container ship Tokio Express was hit by a freak wave. As a result, the giant of the seas dropped 62 containers in the cold Cornish waters.

Since that day, the beaches are Cornwall are a treasure ground for Lego enthusiasts, and collectors. The container was lost 20 miles off the coast of Lands End, but rip currents, tides, winds and swells have kept the Lego pieces in the region.

Interestingly, and according to oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, "it's possible that after 17 years, a Lego flipper could have made it to Australia." He believes that some plastic pieces have crossed the Atlantic, too.

Tracey Williams, British writer and beachcomber, started to discover pieces of sea themed Lego on beaches around her family home in South Devon, England, in the late 1990s. She set up "Lego Lost At Sea," a Facebook page with pictures and testimonies from people who found these toys in the coastline.

"The most profound lesson I've learned from the Lego story is that things that go to the bottom of the sea don't always stay there. Tracking currents is like tracking ghosts - you can't see them. You can only see where flotsam started and where it ended up," concludes Ebbesmeyer.

Like Lego? Discover the best surfing Lego creations.

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