August, 21 2007
A 2.5-metre tall plastic duck is currently on her way to the English coast of Cornwall. She's looking for her ducklings who are expected to make landfall on the southwest coast of England after a voyage over the great oceans.
In 1992, during a storm on the Pacific Ocean, 29,000 plastic bathtime toys ducks fell over board from a container ship that had left China bound for America. Via the coast of Alaska they reached the Bering Strait in 1995 and, after having withstood the rigours of the Arctic ice, ducks have been observed in the last few years on the eastern American seaboard. Thanks to the little ducks adventurous journey scientists have been able to gather important data about the ocean currents. (Full story here)
The little yellow bath toys are shortly expected to make landfall in Cornwall and other beaches on the southwest coast of England.
Visual artist Marga Houtman from Warns (NL) created the mother duck after reading a newspaper report in 2003 about the journey undertaken by the ducklings. Her gigantic plastic duck has a look in her eye that, while always friendly and searching is at the same time somewhat sad. Up till now the mother duck has sought in vain for her ducklings in the Dutch waters. The announcement that the plastic ducklings can be expected on the English coast one of these days is the ultimate opportunity for the mother duck to go looking for her babies there.
The expected reunion of the mother duck and her ducklings will be recorded by Marga Houtman in a short documentary made in collaboration with video filmmaker Patrick Gofre. The influence of the wandering plastic ducklings on people and nature will play an important part in the film. For this, questions will be put to scientists of the National Oceanography Centre, the University of Southampton, various beachcombers and holidaymakers.