Curtis Ebbesmeyer — The Undiscovered Ocean: The Sea Surface Hidden in Plain View

by bgbuchanan on April 23, 2010

Curtis EbbesmeyerDate & Location: 2:00 pm           May 23, 2010          Orcas Center


In May 1990, a Pacific storm knocked five containers filled with thousands of athletic shoes off a cargo vessel. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, with help from a number of beachcombers, tracked the progress of the shoes and produced a groundbreaking study of ocean currents. His talk will describe the epic travels of ocean trash, explain how floating debris guided early explorers to safe harbors, and examine the threats posed to our oceans by the increasing avalanche of plastic waste.

See the brief video from BBC News 

Biographical Information

Curtis Ebbesmeyer holds a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Washington. Media worldwide have turned to his expertise on ocean currents and floating objects. Each year, Curt presents a booth and talks at beachcomber fairs in Alaska, Florida, and Washington, as well as hosting the radio program Flotsam Hour, in which listeners call in with interesting flotsam (like “Antiques Roadshow” for ocean currents). Four times a year he publishes a newsletter, Beachcombers’ Alert!, telling of interesting flotsam reported to the headquarters of the Beachcombers’ and Oceanographers’ International Association. (from )

Recommended Reading

Flotsametrics And The Floating World

How One Man’s Obsession With Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science  By Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano.  286 pp. Smithsonian Books/Collins/HarperCollins Publishers. $26.99

Twelve years and counting — the saga of the tots’
tub toys continues. On January 10, 1992, 28,800 turtles, ducks, beavers and frogs packed in a cargo container — called Floatees by the manufacturer — splashed into the mid-Pacific, where the 45th parallel intersects the International Date Line (44.7°N, 178.1°E). During August- September, 1992, after 2,200 miles adrift, hundreds beached near Sitka, Alaska. Twelve years later, in 2004, beachcombers were still finding the bath-time critters.

You can get a copy of this book locally at the Orcas Island Public Library or , otherwise here’s product information at .


No copy of the presentation is available.

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