the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Book Review; Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn


moby_duck_lrImagine this scenario; a massive container ship laden to the gunwales enters a storm in the north Pacific in transit from China to the US when it loses a number of containers, spilling into the sea its precious cargo, never to be seen again…

…or will it?

And who will be the salvage experts in search for such lost treasure? Maybe cut throats, knives clenched between their teeth, brimming with determination to seek it out and lay claim to it…

Nope. Not even close…

A container ship did in fact take on the full fury of such a storm, in the place mentioned, and containers did spill forth into the ocean, and they did in fact open up and released their precious cargo; not anything your imagination allowed you to think though.

Rubber ducks.

Yellow rubber ducks, ala Ernie from Sesame St fame…in excess of 28,000 of them.

And if we pull back a little, Mr Hohn is no pirate or gold-digging explorer, but a teacher who caught wind of the story some years later and decided to pack in his job, have a baby and search for the real story about the little lumps of plastic which had been washing up on distant shores, even 10 years later.

And it’s all true.

This is a great sea ditty (albeit not in the traditional sense) as Hohn doesn’t leave any stone unturned as he hunts his own Moby Dick, a book paid reference to many a time throughout. Cleaning beaches in Alaska, riding a container ship from Asia, even taking part of a scientific research expedition in the Arctic…Hohn is obsessed with an iconic symbol of our childhood, and while he could go buy one for a couple of bucks instore, he is hellbent on finding one amongst the jetsam and flotsam of beaches barely seen by human eyes.

Now I can’t tell you the outcome, that would ruin it, but enjoy the man’s travels, through hardship and otherwise as he explains the Great Garbage Patch of the Pacific, a natural phenomenon of ocean currents that accumulates all of our junk in a floating cesspit (shame on you all!), to the vaguries of our incessant desire to consume shit that is quite frankly, bloody bad for us.

And while the book has some classic passages of light relief and is up tempo, there is a dark, underlying theme that we only get one shot at this place, and we’re screwing it up royally…

Top read, a must for tree-huggers and heathens alike.

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